Coming Soon to the Wickliffe Schools
By Joseph Spiccia, Superintendent
The Wickliffe City School District is growing into a learning organization focused on innovation, student achievement, and the professional advancement of each staff member. The district’s strategic plan makes a commitment to improving student achievement and preparing students to be successful in college and career.
This article highlights the programmatic enhancements students and staff will experience in the 2015-16 school year.
· The district in partnership with the public library, and several preschools is developing an early literacy program for parents of children aged 3-8. The program’s purpose is to provide early literacy workshops to parents so that they may begin working with their children on the literacy skills they will need in their primary schooling years.
· The literacy-coaching project that began last year for K-2 teachers is being expanded this year to include teachers teaching grades 3 and 4. Literacy development of our staff is a focal point of the district’s professional development plan this year.
· In addition to the aforementioned professional development in the area of literacy, the Wickliffe Schools staff will also participate in professional development programs to improve their technology skills, and the instructional skills in the area of differentiating instruction.
· The K-6 technology program is being enhanced this year. Students will have regular technology instruction throughout the year and will be working with a sophisticated online curriculum that will pace instruction to meet each student’s individual needs.
· Students at the middle school will be taking advantage of the new Innovation/STEM lab. The lab which is being funded with 21st Century grant dollars and assistance from the Lake County Educational Service Center will provide students opportunities through their technology classes, to build real products using 3-D Printers, CNC Milling Machines, and other technology tools and equipment. This economic and workforce readiness center will be a central focus for students both during the school day and through the LAB program.
· More physical education instruction is being made available to students at the middle school this coming year. The new equipment purchased through the PEP Grant will bring a fitness and wellness theme to the health and physical education program.
· The high school is also developing an Innovation/STEM lab. This economic and workforce development center will include 3-D Printers, CNC Milling Machines, Laser Cutters, and advanced Robotics equipment. Students will be learning how to design and build projects using sophisticated equipment and technology.
· As noted in previous articles of this nature, seven courses at the high school this year will allow students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. Two new advanced placement courses have also been added to the curriculum.
· A group of high school students will be involved in a “Project-Based Learning” opportunity this year. WHS is partnering with Perry High School, Yellow Springs High School, and MC2 School in this project. This opportunity is being made possible thanks to a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation. This pilot program may lead to more projects of this nature in the future.
· Every student in grades 7-12 will begin working on a “Ten-Year Plan.” The plan is designed to help students begin thinking strategically about their future and building an educational plan to prepare them for the career opportunities in which they are interested. The plan includes meeting individually twice per year with their counselor to discuss their plan and its progress, opportunity to select coursework that best meets their needs, to participate in field trips, job shadowing, and internship experiences to actually “get out in the field” and learn more about their interests.
· In order to achieve this ambitious agenda, the district created the position of Director of Strategic Innovation for Teaching and Learning. This person will have the responsibility of developing and implementing programming that is innovative, relevant, and meaningful. Her duties will include:
o Collaborating with internal stakeholders and external experts;
o Building partnerships with businesses, higher education, the arts community, and other organizations with a similar mission;
o Developing innovative strategies and blending innovation with tradition;
o Leading professional development programs;
o Leading the Economic and Workforce Lab (STEM);
o Developing programs in entrepreneurship; and
o The director will develop an innovation plan that will include specific goals and measurable outcomes. She will be expected to nurture a culture of innovation within the district and magnify its capabilities in providing a state of the art educational experience for students.
o The position was made possible through assistance from Lake Health, the Lake County Educational Service Center, the Geauga County Educational Service Center, and the Buckeye Educational Systems Company.
o The director and the work the Wickliffe Schools will do will serve as a model for other school districts through NE Ohio and the state.
· Of course, there is no substitute for excellent teaching and the development of fundamental skills. The district will continue to develop programming that emphasizes strong, reading, writing, and math skills. The Writer’s and Reader’s Workshop approach to literacy instruction is being built into programming for students in English/Language Arts and newly adopted curriculum and materials in mathematics will continue to emphasize the development of these fundamental skills.
· Finally, the district is in the process of integrating its new themes into district communication and literature. The newly developed Mission/Vision of the Wickliffe City School District will take its place throughout the community. Bumper stickers, posters, the website, stationary, and similar district materials will carry the same theme: The Wickliffe City School District: Inspiring Students to Learn, Lead, and Serve. Of course, this new theme will compliment our belief in “Generations of Pride.”
The Wickliffe Schools are on an upward trajectory, as we are becoming a premier school district in northeast Ohio.