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School district identifies goals

As this new school year began, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rod Troutman presented a review of Parkland goals covering every aspect relating to students’ education and their care at school and activities.

The report to the board at a recent meeting also included goals referring to teachers, other district employees and facilities.

While many goals are ongoing, others have been completed, and a sizable number are new.

Troutman said before children are even enrolled in the school district, staff work to develop relationships with local preschool providers to better prepare the youngsters for full-day kindergarten.

“We try to get them to understand what we’re looking for when the children start school,” Troutman said.

He noted the goal of having all students reading proficiently by the end of third grade is ongoing.

To meet that objective, reading specialists, principals and classroom teachers work together to identify students not reading at grade level and to develop plans for intervention.

In the matter of classroom work, the district has the goal of moving from teacher-centered practices to student-centered practices, Troutman noted.

He said a new goal is to offer professional development for teachers to make instructional shifts to support student-centered classrooms at the high school.

Integration of inquiry-based learning into all subject areas is a focus for the 2019-20 term.

Troutman noted the Parkland Academy is going strong after being established many years ago.

“We have teachers teaching teachers,” Troutman said. “Some are great relationship builders. Why not learn from them?

“If a teacher is explaining an algebraic concept very well, let all teachers see it.”

Turning to student services, Troutman noted suicide, opioid awareness and prevention training for students and staff are required by the state.

Mindfulness training for teachers and trauma sensitive schools training have been implemented and are ongoing.

“We want to help children coming to school with issues,” Troutman said.

Concussion management, anti-bullying campaigns, aggression replacement training, reducing truancy and improving attendance, inaugurating the social emotional program “character counts,” and expanding career awareness are all Parkland goals.

After hearing the list of tasks for student services, board member Rob Cohen commented.

“We’re taking on more and more serious matters,” Cohen said. “Let’s make certain we have personnel in place to take all of these responsibilities on.”

He noted the importance of curriculum and all the other district endeavors.

“The safety and security of our students should be first and not last,” Cohen concluded.