Every year brings changes for students, teachers and administrators, and this year is no exception. Even though state mandates and standards change almost yearly, teachers in the Fairborn City Schools have risen to the occasion and work constantly with building leadership teams to meet the latest criteria.
Interim Superintendent Terry Riley says he is “very impressed with the quality of teaching, the student body and the cleanliness of the schools.” State testing is now shorter than last year, given once during the year and closer to the end of the year. The district purchased a new science curriculum for all grade levels and will be adopting a new social studies curriculum for next school year
Principal Gene Lolli says Fairborn High School has outstanding, well behaved students who are eager to learn, diverse in origin and tolerant of each other. There are seven exchange students — one each from Chile, Argentina, Hungary, Japan and Norway and two from Italy. All have acclimated themselves to this part of the world and are contributing much to the Fairborn students.
Although the National Math and Science initiative was over last year, Boeing extended their grant for two more years, giving students more chances to earn college credit in the science and math field.
Fairborn High School Marching Band recently took first place in the AAA Division Competition in percussion, color guard and overall effect. The band continues to grow under the direction of John Gorretta.
The Junior R.O.T.C. cadets refreshed the Air Force Marathon runners at their hydration station for the 19th year. Twenty-five cadets also greeted Honor Flight veterans in September.
Internet infrastructure for the district was upgraded and 150 Chrome Books purchased for the high school over the summer. Assistant Principal Amy Gayheart said teachers now have seven carts of computers to check out for classroom instruction; however, many more are needed to give students enough to use on a daily basis across the curriculum. Recently $25,000 was donated for the purchase of software and to provide professional development to staff members. Again, this is far below what is needed, so there is an effort to encourage businesses and citizens to match this grant. For information on donating, please call the Fairborn Board of Education at 878-3961.
Two programs at Baker Middle School have created a more cohesive, caring and cooperative student body. The Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) program began this year with 300 of the 350 incoming sixth grade students and all sixth grade teachers attending a full day orientation. Students attended an open welcome assembly, then broke into small groups for team building activities. They walked their schedules, met their teachers and went through lunch routines. Parents were very complimentary and many teachers said it was the smoothest start to the year ever.
Assistant Principal Andrea Ferguson said the Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) is working well for the second year. Students are taught clear expectations and receive various rewards for excellent behavior. Hall banners are also reminders of these character traits: Be RESPECTFUL, Take OWNERSHIP, Be CONSIDERATE, Demonstrate KNOWLEDGE and Achieve SUCCESS (ROCKS).
Instructional changes include the ALEKS program, an online digital program that supplements classroom and homework learning. It is a tutoring system with highly individualized lessons. A digital learning lab has been created for those students with more individual learning needs or a self-paced environment. The goal is to transition these students back into regular classrooms.
The ACCESS class is a 30 minute daily class to focus on basic math and writing skills, work on social and organizational skills, college and career readiness and goal setting. It also gives the students an adult who can advocate and support them when facing difficult social and academic situations.
Part two of this article can be found in this newspaper in the coming days.
Donna Wilson is a councilwoman for the City of Fairborn and guest writer for the Fairborn Daily Herald.