(submitted by Judy Turner Fox)
What are the biggest changes parents and students will see this school year? Lexington Three does not anticipate any major changes in curriculum for the 2010-11 school year. We are adding an "opt-in" single gender program for 69 and 79 graders at Batesburg-Leesville Middle School and at Batesburg-Leesville High; we are implementing a Mechatronics program. Mechatronics is a field of study which focuses on common skills found in industrial settings. The program combines the elements of mechanics, electricity/electronics, hydraulics/pneumatics, computers and automation. The district is scaling back on the number of Early Release days that we will have during the school year. This year, we will have Early Release days on only eight Wednesdays throughout the year, rather than every Wednesday.
The standards set by the No-Child Left Behind act have score the district at below average and at risk, how important is it to change those scores for 2010-2011? The District Three Report Card ratings for 2009 were Below Average for the Absolute rating and At-Risk for the Growth rating. We are hopeful that the Report Card ratings for 2010 will improve because of the results in the 2010 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) rating that was released on August 2. Our district was one of three districts in the state to meet AYP. Lexington Three has implemented new strategies to help our students meet the standards. We have also provided additional professional development for our faculty and staff in order to help them accelerate student achievement.
With budget cuts galore, how will your district modify to less staff? For several years, our district has enjoyed having low teacher/pupil ratios, so with the reduction in staff, our teacher/pupil ratios will be in line with other districts. Because we are a small school district (less than 2000 students), we will be able to maintain acceptable ratios in our classrooms. We had 157 teachers in 2009-10 and we will have 145 in 2010-11.
What is the goal for your students this year? The primary goal of Lexington County School District Three is also our motto, "Preparing Students for the Future…Now!" We feel that we have an advantage over larger districts because we can provide more one-on-one instructional time with our students. Since we only have four schools, and they all feed into each other, children have a sense of belonging and many of our faculty members have taught our current students' parents and in some cases, their grandparents. There is a real sense of "community" in Lexington Three and our parents and students are proud of our schools and community. Lexington Three was one of only three school districts in the state to meet AYP this year and we feel that is a testament to what we are trying to do within our schools and classrooms on a daily basis.