BCS Advantage Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 3

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS New School Year Sees Expansion, Enhancements, and Excitement By: Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” Sydney J. Harris, American Journalist Welcome! We are definitely looking forward to a successful year ahead. This past summer our elected state and local officials approved respective budgets complimenting the significant role professional educators play inside our schools and classrooms. A priority continues for advancement within the areas of instructional technology, STEM, graduation initiative, and global education. • Our 1:1 Digital Initiative enters a second phase of implementation extending into grades 7, 8, and 9. Similar to last year, our laptop distribution was preceded by BEST (Blending Educational Strategies Together) professional training for relevant classroom teachers; • Project Lead the Way- a comprehensive STEM curriculum- will be fully implemented at the elementary, intermediate, middle, and high school levels; • The success of the graduation initiative was represented this past year in our district’s lowest dropout numbers ever! The initiative, started in 2008, now includes multiple community partners aimed at increasing credit recovery opportunities for high school students and providing a middle grades support network; • Continued expansion of dual language and immersion programs represent the advancement of global education. Likewise, efforts will be made to obtain the state’s new approved badges and certifications for distinguished global educators in our schools. The beginning of this school year featured the grand opening of the Enka Intermediate School! The campus represents a state of the art facility with a keen focus on technology. Across the district, the Nesbitt Discovery Academy, recently designated as a prestigious STEM School of Distinction, welcomed a new class of freshmen. Through the support of the Eblen Foundation and State Employees Credit Union, construction of the Williams Baldwin Teacher Campus and 24 two-bedroom apartments is underway with a targeted opening date of June 2017. Community High School also begins the initial phases of combined renovation and new construction. Under the leadership of Student Services Director David Thompson, a national model of Compassionate Schools is being implemented throughout our school system. The model offers great potential as a strong student support system built around a core of resiliency principles in response to multiple life changing events. Another exciting program expanding within our elementary schools is the Leader in Me based on Stephen Covey’s seven habits for success. Smile Finally, we will be undergoing a district-wide reaccreditation process marked by a visitation in early spring from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The process represents a wonderful opportunity to obtain a comprehensive assessment of the quality of our school system. As you can see, there are many reasons to be proud of our innovative schools and instructional programs. Thank you for your loyal support of our nearly 25,000 extraordinary students, and let’s all enjoy an amazingly productive year! 1