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On Aug. 13, Oldham County will begin school with about 12,000 students attending our elementary, middle and high schools. Board members, administrators, teachers and school staff have prepared throughout the summer for another outstanding school year.
The vision for our students adopted by the Oldham County Board of Education is that, “All Oldham County students, supported by family, community and schools, participate in relevant, engaging, quality learning tasks, in safe, well-designed schools, guided by highly-skilled teachers and visionary leaders. Graduates pursue a life of continuous learning, contribute to their community, participate in the American democracy, and compete successfully in the local, national and international economy.”
To accomplish this vision for each student, we have identified five 21st Century Learning Outcomes. These outcomes (listed below) are life skills that each student will develop throughout their preschool through 12th grade experience. As high school graduates leave each spring, these skills will help these young adults maneuver through life’s challenges.
• Communication Skills
• Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
• Media and Technology Skills
• Creativity and Innovation Skills
• Leadership Skills
The board of education and I have worked with district administrators, SBDM councils and principals in establishing measurable academic goals for each school. In addition, goals have been set to improve district-wide communication, to continue to build the district’s technology infrastructure, and to complete major construction and renovation projects.
Changes, ongoing improvements for the 2008-09 school year
• Gifted & Talented Educational Services
A task force comprised of school administrators, teachers and parents redesigned the gifted education program including major changes in the areas of program organization, student identification, parental communication, teacher training, and student services.
• Exceptional Children Services
Our Exceptional Children Services will be reorganized into three separate but related components (Instruction, Student Services and Staffing, Communication & Compliance) to focus more intently on the instructional needs of special-needs students. The purpose of the reorganization is to improve communication to all stakeholders, provide targeted professional development for staff and to enhance services to students.
• Professional Learning Communities
Professional learning communities continue to develop within our schools.
Teachers in each school collaborate with colleagues in a PLC to design units of instruction, prepare common assessments, review student work and address individual student needs.
TV over Internet Protocol/Distance Learning Capability will provide the district with the infrastructure for developing distance learning that will enable high school students to participate in common courses from different physical locations. For example, students at all of our district high schools could participate via the network in an advanced chemistry class taught at one location.
• District-wide communication
The district Web page is in the process of being redesigned to make it more user-friendly. Sources of information such as brochures, feature articles, a web publication entitled, “News and Notes from the Superintendent,” and press releases are being improved to better inform the community, celebrate achievement, and recognize students and staff.
In addition, the board of education and I will sponsor three town meetings during this school year to provide a forum for conversations with the board. The meetings will take place at locations in Goshen, Crestwood and La Grange. The times and dates of these events will be shared when the details have been finalized.
• Construction and renovation
Construction projects are continuing at Locust Grove Elementary, OCHS and NOHS as we prepare for the opening of school. Renovation work at the two high schools will continue throughout the school year. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete these projects. The new Crestwood Elementary School, also currently under construction, is scheduled to be completed in January.
As always, we look forward to working closely with parents, businesses and community members to make this another exciting school year for Oldham County students. Thank you for partnering with us as we invest in the lives of the young people we serve.
The views expressed in this column may not necessarily represent the views of The Oldham Era.