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Superintendent's Message:


I spent a little time this summer researching trends in public school education. In the military as well as the business sector, leaders always study trends. In the Army, leading up to the Gulf War, generals studied the trends of the Iraqi Republican Guard. They looked at how they would respond in particular situations and trained accordingly. In the business sector, CEOs always pay attention to economic trends, interest rates, etc. When I first became Superintendent seven years ago, I found it odd that schools didn’t really pay attention to trends in education. Schools do a great job looking inward, especially when you think of the accreditation process and the self-improvement plan that a school puts together for the state, but rarely, if ever, do schools look externally.

In order to think about the future of education, I think it is important to look at the past. The last significant change in education occurred in 1890. Before then, children were taught in one-room schoolhouses and consisted of mixed ages. Beginning in 1890, children were grouped by age and skill. This was an important step because of the need to educate children to work in the industrial economy. Our factories and assembly lines required basic skills that all workers needed to compete in the industrial revolution. Think about your time as a student in the 20th century. Our classrooms were set up like a factory with straight rows and bells ringing (like the end of a shift). We had to come to school to gain knowledge because access to information was limited. In fact, information came from a textbook, which was delivered by a teacher.

Fast forward to 2017. The industrial age is our past. Today, we are knee-deep in the information age. The 21st century will require a new way of thinking about how we educate our children. It will require a deeper level of critical thinking skills. It will require collaboration in our classrooms and amongst our children to solve problems. There is so much information out there that it will require us to teach students what is good information and excellent sources versus what is bad information and weak sources.

A recent survey of CEOs and hiring managers from Fortune 500 companies revealed the following top 10 skills they want to see in new hires (in order):

1. Ability to work in a team structure

2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems (tie)

3. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization

4. Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work

5. Ability to obtain and process information

6. Ability to analyze quantitative data

7. Technical knowledge related to the job

8. Proficiency with computer software programs

9. Ability to create and edit written reports

10. Ability to sell and influence others

We just completed a strategic plan for TCS a few weeks ago. It was an inclusive effort, and we received feedback from many constituents in our school community. Our first goal centers on our programs and the overlying goal of being one of the best school districts in West Virginia. We identified school districts that were already considered to be “Best in Class”. We hope to visit a few of these school districts this year. Our teachers will observe classrooms and converse with teachers from these other schools. They will have an opportunity to ask questions and talk with students. An important piece of the visits will be seeing teachers in action. It will be an opportunity to collaborate with other schools and learn new things. Our teachers will also have the opportunity to share things we are doing in TCS.

We will continue to look for opportunities that will help us fulfill the goals of the strategic plan while maintaining our commitment to excellence in all aspects of our programs.

Thank you for entrusting all of us at TCS with your most prized possessions. We take our profession seriously and will continue to research best practices in education. We will continue to invest in the professional development of our teachers and staff. Finally, we will do all of this while remembering we are here to serve your children and to make decisions that are in their best interests.

See you around Tucker!