We have made it through the start of the school year, and my hope is that things have calmed down a bit for your children as they are becoming acclimated to their schedules and the expectations of their teachers. It was great seeing so many community members at the Homecoming Parade and the events surrounding the Football Game. I know that many people worked diligently to make all of this past weekend’s events (including the Homecoming Dance) a great success. As we move into October, I thought that it might be helpful to provide you with a few updates regarding initiatives throughout the District.
On October 14th, the students have a day off of school, and the teachers will be participating in an In-Service Day. During this professional development time, Department Chairs and Grade Level Leaders will be working on a new curriculum evaluation process. Staff members we will be creating a step-by-step process that will be utilized by all departments at each grade level throughout the District. The goal throughout the day is to build and agree upon a meaningful framework that all staff members could easily follow when revising curriculum and going through a curriculum/textbook adoption process. The process that will be developed will include five different steps for a thorough curriculum review including:
Planning – This aspect of the evaluation will include an inventory of our current materials and a discussion of the strengths and challenges of our current programming.
Researching – The process of researching will require that departments evaluate student achievement data to determine any gaps in learning that exist within the curriculum, which will lead the staff to more refined instructional practices.
Curriculum Writing – This component of the plan requires that a similar format is utilized when evaluating the curriculum in each discipline throughout the District. It is important to understand that the curriculum writing process also incorporates an evaluation of instruction designed for meeting the unique learning needs of all South Butler students.
Assessment/Evaluation – In order to determine the effectiveness of a program, we must determine how students are learning and processing information. This aspect of the curriculum evaluation process will utilize student achievement scores to determine the effectiveness of instruction and programming throughout the District.
Action – Planning members of the Curriculum Committee will be given the task of determining the steps necessary for ongoing improvement and strategize for maintaining momentum.
By developing a meaningful structure that is consistently implemented throughout the South Butler County School District, improved student achievement will occur in each discipline. The process is being developed throughout the 2019-2020 school year.
As you are already aware, students at the South Butler County School District have been introduced to the Rachel’s Challenge Program. The premise of the program is kindness and seeing the good in classmates. Rachel’s Challenge was founded by Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott. Rachel was the first victim to be killed in the Columbine High School tragedy on April 20, 1999. Before her death, Rachel was a student who reached out to include and help others and who wrote extensively about her hope that small acts of kindness could change the world. The mission of Rachel’s Challenge is to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in his/her school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.
Students in grades K-12 participated in assemblies that introduced the key concepts of the program, which included video clips and programming that is aimed at making all students feel welcomed in our schools. Following the assembly at the secondary levels, many students volunteered to be members of the FOR (Friends of Rachel) Club. Faculty leaders have been working with smaller groups of students to determine projects that facilitate and remind everyone of the expectation of being kind to each other in the school.
Also include in the Rachel's Challenge Program are lessons that teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels are administering. The daily reminders of strategies for students to utilize with classmates are important to continuing to build a positive culture where students respect each other throughout the South Butler County School District.
I am certain that you have heard from your secondary students about how the metal detector morning walkthroughs have been going. Although there may be some challenges, we are becoming increasingly more efficient with metal detectors at all three locations (KHS front doors, KMS front doors and gymnasium doors). All secondary students pass through the metal detectors each day, and the process has been refined to ensure that all students are into our buildings immediately upon arrival at school. Our School Police have done a nice job at determining strategies that would support the goals of ensuring that bags are thoroughly searched and getting students to first period as soon as possible. We will continue refining our process and working with the goal of creating the safest learning environment possible.
Water and Mold Results
The links below will connect you to mold and water testing results. I am pleased to let you know that the readings came back “clean”. Regulating temperatures throughout the summer proved to be the right move as our mold count is way down, and all classrooms are ready for use. We will continue to test and monitor mold levels throughout the year to ensure a safe learning and working environment for all of our students and staff. Second, lead testing in our water went well, as acceptable levels are less than .020, and we were below that at each station throughout the District.
David Foley, Ed.D. Superintendent