Washington Court House City Schools Superintendent Tom Bailey and the board of education presented the “State of the District” during Monday evening’s board meeting at Liberty Hall.
A first for Washington City Schools, Bailey — with help from administrators around the district — spoke about the recent cultural shift as well as many other facets of Washington City Schools to a crowd of residents to explain how the district is progressing. To begin, the superintendent presented several facts, including the amount of students (2,258), the percentage of students belonging to certain categories (economically disadvantaged, homeless, English Language Learners, etc.), and how the district is cared for (150,000 square feet cleaned by custodians daily, 1,575 acres of grass mowed, etc.) to show “Who we are.”
“This is an exciting time and a great day to be a Blue Lion,” Bailey said. “We have some great things going on in our district.”
Bailey next explained some of the various changes and aspects of the district, including safety changes or practices. During his tenure, they have developed a safety council, changed the location of a nurses’ station to ensure safety for students, participated in active shooter training, and partnered with local law enforcement to inspect building safety.
“When I came on board here at the schools and assembled the administrative team, we looked at what opportunities for growth we had last year,” Bailey said. “A lack of technology in the district, and hence innovation, so that was a concern we wanted to move on. Second was, we really have four different buildings with different cultures and we needed to align the culture. We wanted to make sure our curriculum and structure is aligned so we got the most bang for our buck when it comes to resources that we were putting forth. Thirdly, we took a hard look at our curriculum and updated those components within the financial constraints we have. Additionally, we wanted to concentrate on student achievement district-wide, so with all of our buildings we wanted to look at that on the state report card and we wanted to look at progress specifically at Belle Aire and the high school.”
Throughout the State of the District, administrators were asked to update the community on various aspects of the school. Principal Tracy Rose spoke about the high school and its recent updates to its curriculum. Principal Eric Wayne also spoke about updates to the Washington Middle School curriculum. Principal Jeff Conroy talked about various programs within Belle Aire and its recent “All A’s” on the progress section of its state report card. Craig Maddux spoke about encouraging positive behavior and new reading programs at Cherry Hill.
Finally, Diana Wayne and Stacy Forby — curriculum instructors — talked about various professional development programs, gifted education and the upcoming LEGO League that several fourth and fifth grade students will participate in this winter.
Bailey then looked to the future and discussed several upcoming plans the community can be involved in. This included: looking to privately funding the district to lower state financial dependence; creating a “Fine Arts Council” within the community to help encourage fine arts for children; a “Dreambus,” which is scheduled to help supply summer learning and lunches next year; integrating additional Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts and Math (STEAM) programs into the district; increasing vocational offerings; and increasing support from local businesses.
Though this was only a sample of the discussion, Bailey encourages the community to seek out and receive answers for any questions they have about the district.
Stay with the Record-Herald for more coverage of the Washington Court House City Schools Board of Education.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy