The Rest of the Story…

It’s report card season, and all public schools’ grades have been published in the newspapers and covered by local media. We’ve praised our staffs for their diligent efforts in preparing our students, celebrated the areas that went up, vowed to focus on the areas that didn’t and have tried to explain what all the grades actually mean. But besides state tests, what are those things that impact our students, families and community, day in and day out? What are the things we do on a regular basis that mean the most? These are the questions that also deserve attention and are the basis for this article.

Here’s a list of some of the things that happen at Holgate Local Schools on a consistent basis ... our own unique version of a Local report card:

Students

•Seventy percent of our HS students are in athletics, clubs, choir or band.

•21st Century Grant after-school program (TMI) in its seventh year; 17 students participating this year.

•Zero positive results in two years of drug testing our student athletes.

•United Way 2nd & 7 program in which seniors work with second graders to promote reading.

•Student of the Week in the elementary and middle school.

•Rocket Math and Accelerated Reader recognition of our elementary students.

•NOVA online curriculum to attract/retain students.

•Tiger Tech Plan to provide device access to all and enhance instruction.

•Students/staff participate in Project We Care to give to families in need in our community.

•Students/staff donate to local food pantries to help those in need in Henry County.

•Cheerleaders Gone M.A.D. competition has raised thousands of dollars for charities and local families.

•Veterans Day luncheon to honor our veterans.

•Carnation delivery to the residents at VanCrest Health Care Center.

Climate

•Pledge of Allegiance is read every morning by a student.

•Bullying incidents in 2018-19: elementary — five; middle/high school — two.

•PBIS implementation with incentives for positive student behaviors.

•T.A.C.K.L.E. social worker working with at-risk children/families.

•Full-time daily nursing services provided.

•Every student is “seen” — significant effort is made to get to know each and every student we have and make sure they are “seen” daily.

District

•Safety upgrades/drills: full-time sheriff’s deputy/school resource officer on site daily, entry system/door graphics, The Boot temporary door locking device, emergency exit windows in classrooms, bus cameras (inside/out) and drill scenarios to practice varying response options.

•Transportation provided for town students, even though they live less than two miles from school.

•Social media outreach: Facebook — 713 followers and 385 posts in 2018-19 school year; Twitter- 360 followers and 1,545 tweets so far.

•Ways we reach out: monthly newsletter, WNDH radio shows, NW Signal columns, website and school messages.

•Pursuit of grant opportunities: 21st Century, Straight A and Bureau of Workers Compensation.

•Facility upgrades/maintenance are ongoing (ie. LED lighting, HVAC controls, ice chiller, solar field, sidewalk repairs, high efficiency boilers, etc.) with an emphasis on energy conservation and saving the district money going forward.

Community

•The community hasn’t failed a levy since May of 1988.

•Active, ongoing support from our athletic boosters/PTO/performing arts council/band boosters.

•Project MORE volunteers who work one-on-one with our young readers — 22 this school year.

•Local businesses, organizations, and individuals donate in numerous ways throughout the year to benefit programs and students (ie. money for student book fees & lunch accounts, Life Skills & Vo-Ag programs, books for the library, fertilizer for the fields, helping with grounds work, etc.)

•Numerous annual events to support student scholarships provided by local families and teaching staff.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list (my apologies if I left something/someone out), it provides an accurate account of what happens at Holgate Local Schools on a regular basis, versus a one-time state assessment. These are things we value. Our people make the difference. The values we hold dear are shown in our actions. We help anyone who needs it, from our most vulnerable children to those who are high-achieving. When I came to Holgate back in 2010, it was described that our school is a large version of a one-room school house where everyone knows each other and people care. I’ve found that to be true in every facet of what we do.

Holgate Schools and community wish all of our four-county area schools, communities and families the best 2019-20 school year! We know that all of your “local report cards” would have lists similar to ours. Thank you to all the dedicated educators and communities who support their schools! Special thanks to the NW Signal and all who read it for allowing us to share information and spread the positive news about our school district.

E-mail comments to jenl@northwestsignal.net.

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