Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) are now in full swing as the remaining kindergarten students began instruction on Wednesday.
WCHCS Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey spoke about the staggered start, and about the 2022-23 school year in general.
“The reason that we do the staggered start is so that our teachers can build relationships with parents and kids prior to school. Our high school starts early, but they have early parent-teacher conferences,” he said. “Their parent-teacher conferences are actually coming up in a couple of weeks. They can build those relationships and talk about the progress of the children academically. K through eight is a little bit different. We’re trying to build the relationships up front, and we want to know about your child. We want to know their strengths, their weaknesses, we want to tell you what the data says about your child. We want to talk about their child, their best way to learn, and we just want to build that strong connection between parents and teachers before school.”
He finished, “All of these teachers are meeting with parents and children one-on-one. Those meetings are typically 15 to 20 minutes long. They meet with all of their kids and their parents individually and they start the year off that way.”
Bailey also spoke about changes regarding transportation heading into this school year.
“We did change up our busing a little bit. We’re going to more cluster stops, as most school districts are nowadays, because we are still short a couple personnel in transportation. So, we’re making sure that we are still transporting all our kids. Some kids are going to have to walk a few houses away or down the corner of the street from their house to get picked up by the bus. We are not going to everyone’s door, and we feel really good about that because we’re able to effectively run buses for everyone and get everyone to school in a timely manner. We’re really excited about that small change.”
Bailey also talked about the changes in the food service department.
“We are really excited about the changes coming in our food service program. We have a new food service director, Gary Campbell. He is just doing some phenomenal things and making sure that we’re staying compliant, like we always want to when we’re dealing with federal money. He’s changing the menu a bit and adding some excitement and breathing some life into our program. We are really excited about that.”
Dr. Bailey spoke about staffing and some educational programs.
“We have most of our teaching positions filled. Just like most school districts we do have a couple openings, though, especially in our special education department. We’re in our second year of a two-year process of training our staff in a program called LETRS, which is scientifically-based, and we’re really excited about that. We are going to be working heavy on project-based learning this year. All of our teachers will be doing a three-day workshop on learning how to implement project-based learning at an extremely high level. We’ll be calling it our gold standard level of implementation, and we’ll be working with a company called PBL Works. It’s an international company who is top-notch, and they are kind of the gold-level standard of PBL training.”
He finished, “We have a new partnership with John Hopkins University this year with parents and community engagement, and we’re going to primarily be focusing on Belle Aire Intermediate and Washington Middle School. We’re hoping to expand that to the other two buildings next year. We are really excited about rolling out a new strategic plan that should be coming out in the next few weeks. We worked hard on it over the summer. We have a group of community members, business leaders, students, administrators, and teachers who came together over this past summer. We talked about those areas that we want to focus on. We’re going to be rolling that out here soon, not only with those focus areas, but the objectives for each focus area and then the action steps of what we’re actually going to be doing within those focus areas.”