We in the Warren County School System are preparing for another exciting, yet challenging, school year. This is the first of what I hope will be many articles which will inform our community of what can be expected from our school system and also to inform all of the current education reform movement in our country.
We in education are in – what is turning out to be – the broadest education reform movement in the history of our country. The reform movement titled Race to the Top has challenged all education leaders to think differently when it comes to educating our youth. In Warren County, we are currently doing our part to react to and reach the high-level goals of the Race to the Top legislation, which is designed to prepare our students and community to be competitive in the job market of the future.
Due to the Race to the Top legislation, education leaders in Tennessee implemented a new teacher and administrator evaluation model last school year which mandated all teachers and administrators be evaluated on an annual basis with multiple observations through the year. In this evaluation model, student achievement is a major part of judging the effectiveness of teachers as well as schools.
In the coming school year, teachers will begin to implement new curriculum standards known as common core state standards beginning with math in grades 3-8. These standards are designed to allow teachers the time to go deeper into the curriculum and will also allow students the opportunity to really develop a deep understanding of what they have been taught.
With all the change we are facing one must ask the question, “How will we meet all the goals we have been challenged with, and how will we prepare our students and community to be successful in meeting these challenges?” The first thing we in the Warren County School System have done is to evaluate our mission and vision for our system and the plan we use to meet our goals.
In February, we administrators began the process of developing a strategic plan for our system. The strategic plan was a collaborative effort that brought together many in our community and was truly a team effort to meet the common goal we all have of bettering our schools to better our community. We brought school administrators, school board members, county commissioners, teachers, parents, and community leaders together to gather feedback and shape a document that would guide the work.
Our Mission: The Warren County School System will operate as one team to accomplish one goal – high levels of learning for all which assures each student attains her/ his greatest potential.
Our Shared Vision: The Warren County School System will provide the knowledge, skills, training, and leadership to ensure every student is career ready/ college bound.
After developing the new mission and shared vision, our leadership then crafted a strategic plan to present to our Board of Education for its consideration. In May, our Board of Education took bold action and approved our new strategic plan complete with goals and action steps that will move our system forward.
This strategic plan can be found at the following website http://www.warrenschools.com//Domain/1238 and I encourage all in our community to follow our progress.
Now that the plan has been developed, the true work will start. This is a goal we cannot reach alone and our mission is one of teamwork. We have educated our community leaders and county commissioners regarding this effort, and I applaud their interest in our schools. In a few weeks we will have our back to school professional development, and we will educate our school family about how we will use this plan to reach our goals. Now we are educating you – the community – and asking for your help.
In the coming months we will be reaching out to you in many ways informing you of efforts we are taking to better the students we serve and the community in which we live. I invite you to follow us on this exciting journey by visiting our website often at www.warrenschools.com and also on our social media sites of Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WarrenCountySchoolSystem and Twitter at https://twitter.com/wcschoolsystem.
We are on a journey and it will be a long one, but it is a journey worth taking. To be successful we need all in our community to pull together to help us reach our goal which is to operate as one team, with one goal, ensuring we have high levels of learning for all.
Bobby Cox is director of schools for the Warren County School System.