By Linda Kor
This week marks the start of a new year for students and staff in the Holbrook School District, which includes a new theme for teachers and administration. The theme for the year is “Education: It’s of Historical Importance,” with the focus on the importance of education as a gateway to opportunity.
“This year we will be emphasizing our P.A.S.S. system, which stands for Personal, Academic, Social and Success,” explained Superintendent Dr. Robbie Koerperich. He noted that the system helps students to be personally ready for obtaining an education, not just in K through 12, but also on to college.
“We are focusing on our Healthy Holbrook outlook by providing for free both breakfast and lunch for each of our students. This is an experimental year doing this, but we believe that nutrition is key to educational success,” stated Koerperich, adding that healthier foods will be added to the schools’ offerings and that an emphasis will be made on leading a healthy lifestyle.
“We are also going to be encouraging students to look at their aspirations; what an education can do for them, whether it’s going to college, preparing for a job, whatever their goals are,” he said.
Other important aspects of learning that will be emphasized are positive behavior and maintaining a good school culture. “We’ve already taken measures to ensure that school safety is in place, so we know that students can feel safe while being at school,” stated Koerperich. “We will also be addressing positive behavioral intervention both mentally and physically for our students so that they can have an enjoyable school culture.”
Another focus will be on student achievement and preparing students for what they want to do after they graduate, whether it’s for college or career. “We want to raise their expectations and help them reach their goals,” said Koerperich, adding that a key element will be parent involvement.
A big endeavor the district plans to take on is a re-evaluation of the current grading system. “We need a grading system that is going to measure students’ abilities, work habits and attendance in an overall grade. We may have students who may attend, but don’t turn in all their work; we want to find a balance in the grading system that provides an outcome of their overall performance,” explained Koerperich.
The district is also going to work with students on career and social skills, building what Koerperich calls “good neighbors,” students who will contribute to their community and even the state with positive change and attitudes as adults.
Like the rest of the districts in the area, HUSD will continue to push for advances in technology for its students. While the district utilizes SMART Boards for classrooms with computers in the classroom, district officials have a goal of providing one-to-one computing for students, and eventually phasing out textbooks in favor of ebooks and lessons provided online by teachers.
The district has many goals outlined, but it all comes back to one concept, according to Koerperich: “We want to raise students’ expectations of themselves; raise the bar and help them get there.”