(by Don Meador, Allen County Schools, July 24, 2019)
Allen County Intermediate Center (ACIC) students will see new faces in administration along with a continued effort to enhance Leader in Me principals as the 2019-20 year gets underway on August 7.
“Perhaps the most visible change will be a new assistant principal, Mr. Trey Harper” noted ACIC principal Shawn Holland. “Mrs. (Shannon) Pickett who had served here for a long time retired. It will be a learning curve for our students and parents to get to know Mr. Harper.”
Harper comes to ACIC following 13 years at Highland Elementary in Glasgow. For the past nine years, Harper has served as guidance counselor at the Leader in Me Lighthouse school.
“I think his time as a guidance counselor will play into his role as an assistant principal,” Holland added.
Harper’s experience in a Lighthouse school will be a benefit that ACIC will see out of the gate.
“I think that is instrumental,” Holland said. “We have an adult Lighthouse team and a student Lighthouse team that helps plan and organize events and serves as hosts and welcomes guests and speakers. Mr. Harper was actually the chair of Highland’s Lighthouse team. Having him with come in with his experience from working in a Lighthouse school, puts him ahead of the learning curve. There is no catching him up; he may be ahead of us and pulling us along.”
Holland expects Harper to be a key as ACIC continues to build upon the prestigious Lighthouse status the school earned earlier in the year.
“We want to keep the Lighthouse status going,” Holland explained. “We will have to reapply in a couple of years, go through another review to see if we are still meeting the standards of Franklin-Covey and Leader in Me. But, on top of that, is what Leader in me gives our students so many leadership opportunities.”
Holland reflected on one-such opportunities; student-led conferences that are held during the school year during which the students take the lead role in meetings with parents/guardians.
“The first year we did the student-led conferences parents were apprehensive about meeting with their kids and not with their teachers,” Holland said. “Now, on our feedback forms, it’s positive feedbackoverwhelmingly. The parents enjoy that. Last year, when we did our final student-led conferences, we tied it in with a picnic. We had almost 600 kids (out of approximately 700 overall students) had a conference with someone three days. Someone came and ate a picnic lunch with the student and their student was able to walk them through their leadership binder, and explain where they were last August compared to where they were that day.”
Students and parents will see Leader in Me program being tweaked this school year.
“We have a stable base but we will keep refining,” Holland said. “There is always to tweak, refine, and make things better to provide more leadership opportunities for more kids and to align our academics and our important goals with Leader in Me goals. We have to keep improving. The more kids are involved in their school, the better their grades, the better their attendance, and the better their behavior.”
The teachers at ACIC will also be receiving updated training this year to help the educators better apply learning stranguries to the school’s current curriculum guides.
“This will be out third year working with Eureka Math and our second year working with Expeditionary Learning for reading,” Holland said. “When we started, we felt like we needed an aligned curriculum. We have that in place so our instructional push the rest of this year is going to be a reboot of District initiatives, such as Workshop Model and Thinking Strategies. We want to do this because we have had a lot of new hires in the last five years that have not been exposed to the Workshop Model and Thinking Strategies. Our focus will be to take those strategies and figuring out how we apply that within the curriculum that we are working with. We will look at how we take the curriculum and see how we implement high yield, high progress, and high achievement strategies. We will have a couple of days ofPD (professional development) that will be dedicated to that. The whole staff will be getting this.”
Parents and students are reminded that the doors open at 6:45 a.m. for parents to drop-off students with classes officially beginning at 7:50. School dismisses at 3 p.m. with the procedures for drop-off and pick-up the same as last year.
“I can’t impress upon our parents enough how important it is for their kids to be here and be on time,” Holland said. “We led the district in attendance for a second year in a row but we want to be even higher. We want to get to 96% or higher. When they are not here, they are playing catch-up. Their grades suffer, their behavior suffers, and it creates more work for the parents at home since they have to play catch-up in helping with homework.”
Holland also asks that parents take the time to read the school’s handbook which each student will receive. No changes are in place this year, yet, Holland believes it will help if parents read each of the school’s polices.
“I highly encourage parents not just to sign-off on receiving the handbook but to read and understand what is in the handbook,” Holland added. “One of the issues we have is kids following our ‘bring your own device’ policy. Sometimes nine, 10, 11 and 12-year-old kids may not understand the policy and use it appropriately. I encourage parents to read what policy says and having a conversation with your child about what’s appropriate regarding cell phones.”
The Intermediate Center will welcome a pair of educators back to the school. Matthew McGuire and Casey Napier were previous Instructional Assistants the school. Now, the pair return as teachers---both with experience. McGuire has taught in Barren County while Napier has been in the Warren County School District. The school is also looking for a fifth-grade teacher to replace Cheryl Miller who has accepted an assistant principal’s position at the high school and a new Instructional Coach---replacing Grace Absher who has accepted a consultant’s job with the Green River Regional Education Cooperative.
Parents will also see a new face in the office. Melissa Tabbert slides into the role of attendance clerk as Daphne West has moved to a new role within the school.
ACIC will have open house for all students from 5 until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30.