From the Desk of Dr. Christopher G. Hibner:
In the East Troy Community School District, we are not just concerned about engaging students in school, but also engaging each and every child in learning. This focus affects everything we do, spanning the areas of leadership, teaching practices, resources, facilities, assessments, reporting of grading, activities, homework and our past and current belief systems. These are the areas within our system we must continue to reshape and transform to enhance the natural curiosity and imagination of all students as they explore their various interests, needs and readiness. Learning is and should be the only constant.
Each year as I write this message, I am amazed at how the East Troy Community School District is addressing challenges, providing opportunities and demonstrating a relentless pursuit of academic excellence. As we continue to move forward for the betterment of our students, district and community, we must recognize the competitive educational environment providing more opportunities and choices to families inside and outside of East Troy. As we do so, we must ask, as all educational institutions do, “Why should students go here?” As the choices of education continue to expand through open enrollment, course options, youth options virtual learning and more, each school district and community must address this question.
We need to recognize that we absolutely live in a global environment, and that it is imperative that each and every child receives a quality education. Toward that end, we focus on the five Cs of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication and content. We must develop high-level learning environments that encourage out-of-the-box thinking to solve problems and work toward meeting the definition of entrepreneurship per the World Economic Forum: a process that results in creativity, innovation and growth. In other words, it’s about an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action.
In our district, we continue to stress the importance of personalized learning (see policy 112) and the impact of learner profiles, customized learning paths, and proficiency based progress. We recognize through programs that put students at the center of learning, high-quality practices that put students at the center of learning, technology and modern/attractable facilities that put students at the center of learning, we will support the five Cs, ultimately ensuring our district goals. This is why we are so excited about the following developments:
- High school additions and renovations
- New PK-2 elementary school
- Middle school renovations
- New programming
- Continued improvement to leadership and teaching practices that represent our strong commitment to a personalized learning environment
- Current 1:1 and 2:1 technology throughout the district
The above items all support providing higher-quality learning environments and better efficiency throughout our school district. You may learn more about these efforts by visiting these links:
[Referendum] [SmartLabs] [Fab Lab] [Robotics] [Technology] [Personalized Learning Policy-112]
Did you know that East Troy will be the first district in the state to have SmartLabs? Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, we will have certified SmartLabs in Prairie View Elementary School and the East Troy Middle School. And, when the new PK-2 elementary school opens in the 2017-2018 school year, it too will contain a certified SmartLab.
A SmartLab is an engaging program that allows students to explore STEAM through project-based learning and applied technology.
Students will demonstrate each of the 5 Cs daily, while exploring alternative energy, computer graphics, mechanics and structures, scientific data and analysis, circuitry, digital communication, robotic and control technology and software engineering.
Furthermore, East Troy High School will be one of only a few schools in the state to have a certified fab lab (fabrication laboratory).
As of 2015, the state of Wisconsin had seven fab labs, which support STEAM and foster creativity and innovation by empowering students and adults to understand the design process, including the conceptualization, design, development, fabrication and testing of almost any innovative solution to common problems. Fab labs are interdisciplinary and should be viewed as a resource for all areas of the district.
A fab lab houses 3D printers/makers, vinyl cutters, laser cutters and engravers, milling machine computer guided routers and more. Again, this provides an opportunity to support our 5 Cs and demonstrate to our students the importance of learning, undo learning and relearning. As a result, East Troy was one of just 25 schools to receive a $25,000 fab lab grant.
We also remain steadfast to exposing our students to world language and world cultures at all levels toward enhancing their global literacy. At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, ETHS became one of 70 schools in Wisconsin to offer the Global Education Achievement Certificate (GEAC). Currently, there are 35 ETHS students working toward achieving this certificate by completing varying tasks in four domains: globally focused coursework, community service, extracurricular activities and literacy.
Beginning in the fall of 2016, ETCSD will be partnering with Futura Language Professionals to provide an extensive four-day-per-week, after-school Spanish immersion program for any student in grades K-5 in the East Troy community (including public, private and homeschool students) for a total fee of $225. One day will be coordinated by Futura, while the other three days will be facilitated by the middle and high school world language teachers. Click here for more information.
As you can see, these are exciting times for the East Troy Community School District! We recognize the challenges in front of us, but remain focused on continuous improvement for the betterment of current students, students yet to come and our entire district and community. Please take some time and visit our website and click on “Student Achievements” to see the progress we’ve made. We have so much to be proud of as we continue to reshape our educational system toward ensuring our six district goals:
- Ensure a year or more of learning growth for each child, each year
- Ensure programming opportunities that recognize all talents
- Ensure individualized learning by engaging students in personalized learning environments
- Employ the highest-quality staff
- Adapt facilities for current and future educational needs
- Demonstrate fiscal responsibility through efficiency and effectiveness
All of that being said, there is still much work to be done, and we will face occasional setbacks that may even be viewed as failures. However, as John F. Kennedy once said, “Only those that risk great failure can have great success.” Amidst the complexity and intense work, the East Troy Community School District will continue to work toward our mission, for the betterment of our students and community.
Dr. Christopher G. Hibner