Thursday, July 5, 2012
School may be out for the summer, but area principals are already asking the community to consider spending some time at their school once students return Aug. 13.
“Common Core is ramping up expectations for teachers,” said Soddy-Daisy Middle School principal Blake Freeman, who took the school’s helm four weeks ago. “Now it pushes us to go deep into the content area. A lot of business people have deep content knowledge. It would be great to have community guest speakers come to talk to our students.”
Sequoyah High School works to prepare students for the workforce through career-based vocational training. Its students could definitely benefit from real world interaction with business people from the 12 different career and technical areas the school focuses on, according to principal Todd Jackson.
From welding to electrical to health sciences to child care, the school offers preparation for a variety of fields, and it recently launched a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
“Our mission is to provide students with a skill set,” said Jackson. “We are a viable option to prepare students.”
He said his school has increased its graduation rate to 84 percent, a 10 percent gain, with 100 students — about 60 percent of whom are from Soddy-Daisy — graduating from Sequoyah in 2012.
Soddy-Daisy High School principal John Maynard said a lot of businesses already interact with his school through sponsorships of its award-winning sports teams. The school’s soccer and volleyball teams placed in state this year, and its skeet, bowling, softball and wrestling teams won state this year. He said the school’s JROTC program is the highest ranked in the South.
“Everything helps,” he said. “[Business people are welcome to] buy an ad for athletics or come speak to our students.”
Loftis Middle principal Bob Walter said that in addition to getting his school’s teachers to collaborate more with each other, having the business community bolster classroom learning would be a benefit.
“We adopted learning-focused strategies,” he said, noting that while enrollment has dropped from 900 to 650 students, test scores have been on the rise with improvements in most areas last year.
“Our vision is to get our kids ready for high school,” said Walter. “The history that you build in school can open doors for you.”
Ivy Academy in Soddy-Daisy caters to the segment of the student population that feels lost in a large class size. Executive Director Angie Markum said the school focuses on the environment and careers.
“We want an environmental focus in science, technology and math,” said Ivy Academy teacher Thankful Davis. “We are starting up our mentor program. We are looking for local community members to meet with our students.”
Davis said Ivy Academy students have partnered to help the elderly in the community and the homeless population.