FAIRBORN – The bell will ring and classes will begin at the Fairborn City School District Tuesday morning, and teachers, administration and staff members have been preparing accordingly.
“The staff of Fairborn Primary School is looking forward to seeing our students come back on Tuesday, Aug. 18,” Fairborn Primary School Principal Susie Riegle said in an email interview.
And the principals within the district agreed.
“I’m always excited about the first day of school,” Fairborn High School Principal Gene Lolli said. “There’s a lot of preperation that goes into it, and whether I’m ready or not students are going to come. We greet everyone with open arms, and we are anxious to get started.”
The schools are implementing a district-wide 40-45 minute early release each Friday. Fairborn Intermediate School Principal Betsy Wyatt said during this time teachers will engage in teacher-based-teams (TBT), in which they will work together to reflect on their actions as teachers and develop various strategies to better the students.
“They’ll be working on common assessments, and professional development during those times,” Lolli said. “It gives them more time to plan together and communicate with one another. We occasionally had early releases last year, but with all the requirements the state of Ohio has put on teachers today and the importance of testing and seeing that students are successful, it’s only fair that teachers get that time to plan and structure each of their subject areas more appropriatly.”
Fairborn Intermediate and Baker Middle School is additionally introducing a federal program that will allow each student to receive a free breakfast and lunch. Wyatt is excited about this change, as it will be one less stressor for students to have. Baker Middle School has also introduced its Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) program in hopes of helping incoming sixth graders feel more comfortable.
Fairborn High School will experience one less period throughout the day, reducing the amount of classes from eight to seven, although Lolli said students have not lost instructional time. The school’s lunchtime will change from lasting approximatly 50 minutes to 30 minutes, and the day will now include an advisory period Monday through Thursday that relates to the continuing freshman focus program. It will allow teachers to engage with students and assist them accordingly. He said an advisory period for upperclassmen will be a work-in-progress.
Fairborn High School has also included additional AP courses, including psychology and environmental science classes. High school students will also see new science textbooks; next year, they will see new social studies textbooks.
“Social studies teachers will start meeting in October to look at new textbooks,” he said. “Hopefully by January, we will have something picked out.”
Fairborn High School hopes to raise its test scores in comparison to last year’s results, and Lolli expressed high expectations for the students.
“Our expectations are very high here,” he said. “Under the old rating by the state of Ohio, we’ve always been excellent and we want to continue that, even though that rating is no longer used. Whatever rating they end up coming down the pike with, we want to make sure every student is successful everyday that they’re here. We want all students to have a positive experience … Our kids rise to the levels of the expectations you set.”
Fairborn Primary School is no exception.
“We are working very hard to improve the academic achievement level of our students,” Riegle said. “Our focus on writing is being addressed by providing additional professional development and resources for our teachers to enhance the instruction given to our students.”
The disctrict is currently facing the possibility of constructing new facilities in the future. Wyatt said it would be amazing if the event took place, and feels that the students are deserving of such.
“My job, in addition to loving the kids and working with the teachers, is resource management,” Wyatt said. “The buildings are clean and well-kept, but they’re old. [Having new facilities would be beneficial] so we don’t have to have so much time and effort in keeping up.”
Teachers have been in and out of the buildings throughout the summer season in order to prepare, and some have recruited family members for assistance in painting and installing shelving units. Riegle said custodial staff members have been working all summer to prepare the Fairborn Primary School building, and teachers have been in-and-out since late July.
“We’ve had a lot of teachers in here working over the summer,” Lolli said. “Teachers have been working hard on their own time this summer in preperation. A number of english teachers have taken professional development over the summer on their own time.”
Riegle hopes for elementary students to have a positive experience over the course of the upcoming school year.
“I want our kids to love to come to school everyday because they feel safe, secure and loved in the environment we have at Fairborn Primary School,” Riegle said. “Additionally, without question, that they experience substantial academic growth.”
The principals are looking forward to watching the sprouting take place in the students over the duration of the school year. Wyatt feels that the greatest part of being a teacher is empowering the students with the confidence they need to develop.
“Teaching has changed, but it’s exciting because you can see the growth,” Wyatt said. “Teachers are like doctors, because they see where the students are, and they work to make the kids better – that’s the fun part, seeing them grow and feel confident. That’s when you know they’re healthy and will continue. If a kid struggles, teachers find a way to help … We want the best for them everyday.”
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532.
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