Recently, the Weber Board of Education officially announced their intent to hold a bond election on June 26, 2012. Following months of study, the board has determined to bond for $65 million dollars. Most importantly, these bonds can be issued without increasing tax rates. Being able to bond without increasing property tax rates represents wise and prudent fiscal management on the part of our board of education. Successful passage of the bond election will address growth in student population as well as several aging facilities. The average age of the schools recommended for replacement is 68 years. The following projects have been identified by the board:
We recognize that the above list does not include all the needs in our district. A bond that addressed all the needs in our district would require a significant tax increase. It is important to note, however, that when major construction projects are being addressed with bond money, it frees up local capital dollars to address other needs throughout the district. Hence, every school and community benefits from a successful bond election.
This list of projects represents an aggressive construction plan. Because construction costs and interest rates are currently very low, the school board has concluded that this is an optimum time to address our growth and aging facilities. These are projects that will need to be addressed at some point. Delaying replacement and construction would likely result in a significant increase in overall cost.
During the months of April and May, I will be visiting each faculty to discuss the bond and answer any questions from our employees. Thank you for your remarkable support and extraordinary professionalism!
Our schools have great leadership, highly qualified teachers, exceptional, supportive staffs and motivated students. We are well-organized and operate with great efficiency under normal conditions; occasionally however, a situation may arise that causes a school to face unusual demands, this may be due to the death of a student, faculty member or another unexpected and unpredictable event. During such an emergency, our schools must maintain day to day operations as well as try and meet the needs of those affected by the crisis.
In our schools, a crisis can impact many or a few individuals, including not only students, but faculty as well. Depending upon the nature and impact of the crisis, Weber School District has in place a team of individuals under the direction of Bob Wood, Student Service’s Director and Sara Allen, Student Services Coordinator, that respond to help the schools when requested by the principal. The team is comprised of counselors from different school levels, Student Services Coordinators and the Student Services Director
The District Crisis Team is available to each school, if it is determined that the event will have a significant impact on the students and/or faculty. A phone call from the school principal, to the Director of Elementary or Secondary Education, is all it takes to start the process. From there, they contact the Director of Student Services who activates the team. Help from the district team will vary, depending upon the needs of the school; how many people are impacted; when and where the incident occurred; and if it involves a death or serious injury.
In the day-to-day operations of a school, the administration and counseling staff will handle many smaller crisis situations. The district crisis team’s job is to help the principal and counselors when they may be in a position where they don’t have enough resources on hand. The team is there for support and to coordinate any additional services as requested. This may include communicating to parents of distraught students; organizing a place for impacted students to meet for additional support; and a sympathetic ear for affected faculty members. The team’s primary purpose is to help when help is needed and remain at the school as long as necessary.
After the crisis situation, the team coordinates with the school principal and school counselors to make certain their needs have also been met. Our Crisis Team is one of the best in the State and is called upon frequently to train other teams within the region. We are grateful to have such a well-qualified and professional team.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of the fastest growing occupations in the U.S. will require at least an associate’s degree or a post-secondary vocational certificate. In the near future, employers will be hiring individuals with technology education training more than any other group. Higher level knowledge and skills are not only requisite for traditional college bound students but also for those students who are entering the career fields of technology. Weber School District (WSD) is meeting this demand by offering secondary students the opportunities to learn from well-qualified instructors to help prepare them for future employment in the real world of technology application.
WSD’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) offers a multitude of educational opportunities, courses, internships, and student organizations to better prepare students with 21st Century knowledge and skills. Many of the high school CTE courses in WSD offer Concurrent Enrollment (CE) credit through many of Utah’s colleges and universities.
Worked Based Learning (WBL) opportunities are provided to qualified 12th grade students. Through this program, apprenticeships and internships are available at participating local businesses, medical facilities, schools and government entities.
Project Lead the Way (PLTW) gives students hands-on pre-engineering courses and provides a rigorous curriculum of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). PLTW is a national program that is offered in all 50 states. Recently, WSD’s PLTW program housed at Two Rivers High School, received the “Model School Award for Leadership” in STEM education. Only 16 of the participating 4,200 schools received this distinguished honor.
Secondary schools in WSD can become actively involved in a variety of CTE classes ranging from business, health sciences, technology, robotics, computer technology, and digital electronics to manufacturing, construction, automotives, welding, architecture and engineering ….. and everything in between. Through the CTE programs, students can also engage themselves in several different student organizations to help enhance their interest and abilities in CTE.
As a district, we are very fortunate to have such dedicated, professional CTE leaders and instructors who enhance and multiply the learning opportunities of our students. We are also deeply appreciative of the army of local business, medical, school and government leaders who have partnered with us to help students better prepare themselves for future educational and career opportunities.
Recently, I finished re-reading Notebooks of the Mind, a fascinating book that explores how creative people think and examines the human mind working at its highest potential. In particular, one phrase caught my attention--"the legacy of distant teachers." The author, Vera John-Steiner, described the critical role that teachers play in shaping lives. I began reflecting upon the "legacy of distant teachers" who have impacted me. The list of memorable teachers was long; however, I do want to briefly mention one very special teacher—Janice Cashmore-Allen.
I opened the newspaper on New Year's Day to learn of Janice’s passing. I student taught with Janice 28 years ago at South Ogden Junior High School. Janice was a master teacher and the consummate professional. She was my friend and mentor and will be greatly missed. When I consider "the legacy of distant teachers" in my life, Janice is at the top of the list. Although no longer with us, Janice’s influence on my life continues. Therein is the legacy of a teacher!
Since becoming superintendent, I have been in dozens of classrooms throughout our district and observed numerous master teachers. Weber School District is fortunate to have dedicated, caring teachers and professionals who shape and impact children's lives. One paradox of teaching is that although typically occurring in large-group settings, the effects are always individual. Great teachers possess the capacity to connect with each student. These connections are held not in teachers' methods but in their hearts. Although the rewards of teaching are not always tangible, be assured that you will be among "the legacy of distant teachers" as your students reflect on those who have influenced them. I thank each of you for your great efforts!
"Weber School District is committed to provide educational experiences which motivate each student to become a lifelong learner, attain academic and personal potential, and enter the workforce with the necessary skills." This mission statement is our number one priority but it is noteworthy that in addition to providing academic excellence, we are also the second largest employer in Weber County, the first being the IRS. We have over thirty-three hundred caring employees that contribute a great deal to the community and economy of Weber County.
Thanks to all.
In the new Common Core State Standards Initiative, college and career-readiness standards have been incorporated into the K-12 standards which will enable educators to better prepare students for the 21st century. The Utah State Board of Education gave permission for school districts to take time to implement training of the core to educators. The WSD Board of Education granted a full school day for the purpose of training, planning, collaboration and application of the new core. On September 30, elementary and secondary educators gathered together in several different locations across the district for general and subject-specific training and teacher development. The focus of the day was centered on speaking, listening, writing and comprehension of informational text across all curricular areas. Teachers have indicated that the Common Core training day was valuable and impactful. We are currently in the process of gathering more data from educators to help determine the level of effectiveness of the training and how to improve similar trainings in the future. We appreciate the members of the WSD Board of Education for their support in allowing educators this valuable opportunity for planning and preparation, collaboration with colleagues and opportunities for growth and learning.