Live Oak School District Excited to Welcome Students
By Tamra Taylor, Superintendent Live Oak School District
We are a community-oriented school district as evidenced by a large number of parents who show up annually to give the District input into our Three Year Strategic Plan. The plan, a blueprint for how we plan to actualize our hopes and dreams for the children, covers a wide breadth of aspiration. We have many reasons to be proud of our progress thus far. I want to highlight a few key areas we are specifically addressing that relate to student well-being and academic success in the 2016-17 school year.
We hold high expectations for our students, not only in academic areas but also the skills they need to know for future success. Therefore, this year we added an instructional coach who will support technology use in the District by both students and teachers. This coach will also facilitate a “Technology Cadre” which will draw teachers from each site to serve as pilot teachers and support providers to their colleagues. The other coaches will continue their focus on math and reading/writing.
21st Century Skills
Exciting STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) work is ahead at Shoreline Middle School this year! A one-to-one Chromebook initiative will be piloted across the 8th grade. This initiative will facilitate students’ ability to seamlessly continue their work outside of school, be it a writing assignment, collaborative presentation, or math assignment through the District’s new online math program called IXL. IXL is an adaptive and engaging program that builds student skills in math and provides specific reports to teachers so they can tailor their support.
Finally, we are proud to have received a grant from the Toshiba America Foundation to purchase a second 3D printer for use by the Math Department as well as the STEAM elective. The 3D unit enables students to utilize their mathematical reasoning through a 3D modeling software program that results in the creation of a physical object. This process requires the 4C’s that underlie 21st Century Skills: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.
Counseling & Professional Development
Students’ physical and emotional wellness is of high priority to us in Live Oak School District. To address this, we have expanded the number of counselors so that every school has a designated person to support students’ social and emotional needs. These counselors also lead anti-bullying lessons and run the conflict resolution program.
In addition, district-wide professional development is being provided throughout the year by the Gender Inclusive Schools Network so that all personnel are equipped with the skills to make every student feel safe at school. A parent informational night will be held on this topic on September 22. Finally, our highly regarded fresh prep nutrition program has been so successful that we are now expanding it to provide breakfast and lunch to our preschool program and a supper program for the students attending the new Boys and Girls Club in Live Oak.
Family Learning Night
We believe parent engagement in their child’s learning is critically important to the success of the child. Last year our schools held their first Family Learning Night, an evening event that included dinner followed by academic-focused games for students and their families to play. At the end of the Night, the supplies and materials for the games were sent home with each family to extend the learning into the home. Building on the success of last year’s Family Learning Nights, we will be holding two Nights this year–one in the fall and one in the winter.
Thanks to a Supportive Community
The activity plans I’ve described are not created nor carried out in a vacuum and so I want to conclude by thanking the engaged groups of teachers, parents, community members and administrators who gave input into this year’s plan as well as those who will be implementing it with our students. And we continue to be grateful for the community’s renewal of our parcel tax with 79% approval.
Thank you again to all District staff, Home and School Clubs, labor groups, and community members who contributed through campaign donations, precinct walking, phone banks, and working at farmer’s market tables. The parcel tax renewal means that programming such as art, music, life lab, and after school services will be secure for another 12 years. The high percentage of voters approving the parcel renewal is a victory for our students.