Five new teachers will step into classrooms with the start of school on Thursday, August 10---new additions that highlight the changes at the Allen County Intermediate Center for the 2017-18 school year.
“We have hired some superstars,” noted principal Shawn Holland. “We are looking forward to having Micaela Atwell, Josh Blankenship, Lauren Harris, and Ashley Holder as new teachers and Shannon Stewart, new to us as she comes over from the high school. We are still looking for another sixth grade teacher with Mr. Marr’s departure. He is going to Rickpond as the Dean of Students.”
The year will start with Open House from 4 until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1. The night allows incoming fourth graders an opportunity to meet their teachers and tour the building. Returning fifth and sixth graders will also meet their teachers and learn about the excitement that awaits at the Leader In Me school.
“It’s year three for Leader In Me,” Holland said. “Instead of everything being new, we are starting to refine our practices. We will have one all-day professional development with the whole staff. It’s called Leader In Me-Empowering Instruction on August 8. Leader In Me, as much as anything, has helped the culture of our school. Its helped how we think, treat and act toward one another and also given kids those leadership opportunities. Parents are coming back and saying things like my child has confidence that they have never seen, they can speak in front of 200 people, and that they want to come to school to do their job. We want the kids to want to be at school. Leader in Me is a great tool to encourage attendance and participation. Also, Leader in Me teaches those 21st Century skills, the things that employers want.”
Holland recalled the school’s mission statement which continues to define what happens at ACIC.
“Last year we redrafted the mission statement to three words, Learn, Lead, Succeed,” Holland explained. “You come here to learn, take a leadership role, and then you will succeed. That goes into everything in life, not just here at the Intermediate Center but where everyone goes in life.”
The principal noted that the school will be refining their teaching strategies and focus on “how to meet the needs of all students.”
“We will be doing some training coming on how we meet the needs of every kid that comes in this building,” Holland said. We want every kid that comes into this building challenged. We want them working hard. We will be focusing on how we can differentiate instruction so that it’s not a one size fits all.”
The school is expected to have over 700 students in the building including the fourth grade class that makes the transition from the Primary Center.
“The parents need to know that we are going to take care of their kids,” Holland stated. “We are going to love them but we are going to challenge them. We are going to work them hard. We owe that to them but our parents will find out that within the first few days they will love their teachers and making new friends and be excited about the leadership opportunities.”
The ACIC Site Base Council has given first reading to a policy change that parents should know.
“The change is around trading cards, games, toys, and things of that nature,” Holland said. “It started to intrude on instruction. Kids are more worried about trading a Pokeman card or using a Fidget Spinner than what is going on in class. We have looked at a catch all discipline policy that simply says that games and toys and things of that nature are not to be brought go school. If a child has down time here, we would love to see them reading a book or doing something educational. When they are on recess, we want them getting physical activity not setting in a corner trading cards. When kids get the chance to burn off their energy its helps them and it also helps us. We also don’t have to deal with lost or stolen items. Kids should leave those things at home. We are series business about what we do here and those things just don’t have a place in this environment.”
Day-to-day school operations are expected to remain “business as usual.” School start and end times as well as drop off and pick up procedures will be the same as last year.
“I’m just looking forward to the school year,” Holland added. “The longer I am here, I continued to be impressed by the level of expertise of our teachers. We will work to refine our strategies. We also want to be an open school where parents are welcome. We would love to increase our number of volunteers that come in and help kids and work with teachers. We want parents as a partnership. We are also looking for people to help with our PTO partnership.”
The new school year will begin on Thursday, August 10.