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Red Oak Schools focus on character development

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Ellis County Press

RED OAK --A strategic plan created by community members, teachers and administrators lists community service and character development as the top two priorities for Red Oak Schools.

'This is something that they felt was extremely important for the kids,' said Superintendent Kay Waggoner. 'It reflects the community's values.'

According to Waggoner, each campus has a committee and a campus coordinator to implement the strategies. 'That way, each campus has the flexibility and the freedom to design their own lessons,' she said. 'As long as they support these specific themes.' 

At the elementary level, for example, teachers and counselors will focus on conflict resolution and self-control during the month of August, and on goal setting in September. Themes for each month have been defined and will be the same in all the elementary schools.

The plan summary presented at the Board meeting also lists the district's new abstinence-based human sexuality program and Project Success as tools for character development.

'Each month each campus prepares a report for the Board,' said Waggoner. 'At the end of the year, it was amazing to see the number of community service projects that kids were able to be involved in.' She cited canned food drives and jump rope for hearts as two examples.

'Part of the plan this year,' she continued, 'Is to provide certificates of recognition, especially in the area of community service.'

The strategic plan also states that the district will 'develop the critical thinking skills of each student by challenging teachers to concentrate their emphasis on higher level thinking skills rather than focusing on memory.' A specific goal is for teachers to use higher level thinking skills in at least 50% of their teaching strategies and test questions.

'Critical thinking is a TAAS requirement,' said Waggoner. '(So is) vertical alignment of curriculum.' Waggoner indicated that vertical alignment, another key strategy for the district, means getting representatives from all grade levels together to discuss and compare requirements and make sure there are no gaps in the instruction. 'We want to make sure each grade knows what is required at the next grade level, and so on.'

The district is also working hard to communicate with the public. 'We have developed a district brochure,' said Waggoner, 'We mailed out two district newsletters last year, and we're shooting for three this year.' The public is invited to log on to www.ednet10.net/redoak/index.htm for more information.

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Nelson Propane

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