August Superintendent's Corner
As we enter into the new school year, I am excited about the new changes we have coming our way! The 2023-’24 school year will be my 33rd year in public education. Each one is like its own chapter within a book as they each have their own unique memorable moments. Every year takes its own twists and turns but we always try to make the main thing the main thing. For us at Friend Public School the “main thing” is always trying to find ways to provide the best education we can in the safest, most positive learning environment possible. With that idea in mind, we will be bringing some new ideas to the operations of the upcoming school year.
This year our older students in grades 5-8 will have new electives they can take. Last spring we sent out surveys asking students what types of classes they would prefer to take. Elective options include Yearbook/Art, Horticulture, Study Habits, FACS, and Esports/Robotics. We hope these options provide additional educational opportunities for our students outside of the traditional courses that are offered. Along with these course options, we also will be on a block schedule this year. The block schedule is similar to a college schedule in that students will have longer classes but they will not be in the same classes every day. As the new scheduling system is new, we likely will have a few kinks. Please be patient as we work our way through the system. The block scheduling was the best way we could think of that would allow us to use staff efficiently in order to provide the new elective classes.
Along with the new schedule changes, we also are adding to our food service options. This year, students will have the opportunity to eat from a salad bar. Some of our students and our staff want the option to have a few more healthier choices and we are excited that we are going to be able to provide these to them. Along with the traditional lunch provided each day, students will also have the option of selecting bento boxes. These will vary from time to time but they will contain items like fruits, nuts, crackers, and basic meats. Again, we hope the students will enjoy these new food service options.
Academically we are hoping to improve our student performance on state test scores. We intentionally do not focus a whole lot of attention on state tests, but we do want our school to be reflected on in a positive manner. With that being said, we will be using the Alpha Plus support program this year. Alpha Plus is an academic mapping program that helps ensure we are teaching students specifically what they will see on state tests. The program includes lesson plan ideas along with a pacing calendar for the year. The calendar will help ensure that staff are able to cover the necessary material within a time frame that matches the state’s testing calendar. Perhaps the most important component of the Alpha Plus program is that it contains assessment and additional practice materials that are directly aligned with the state standards. Our students will be practicing on a daily basis on a level that is equal to what they will see on testing dates. Hopefully, the Alpha Plus program will help us to improve the overall performance of our students!
Enrollment/Environment-As of the time that I am writing this article, our enrollment is up about 10 students from last year. That is great in that more students means that we will get more funding from the state. Along with the process of bringing in more students, we have also put class size limits on how many students we will have in each grade this year. This process allows us to grow our school while at the same time controlling growth to ensure we maintain the small class size and family environment that Friend Public School is known for.
As has been our custom over recent years, we will use the district’s Facebook Page along with the district’s website to be our primary sources of information. You can find us on FB at Friend School. By following the page, you will be kept “In the Loop” as new information is released. Also please be sure to check out the district’s website at www.friend.k12.ok.us. The website contains lots of useful information including athletic/event schedules, meal menus, and the Teacher Ease program. Through Teacher Ease, parents can pay for student meals and they can track student grades throughout the year. The Teacher Ease system also includes our notification system. In cases where we need to send especially important information (such as weather-related concerns and plans), we will use the Teacher Ease program to send phone calls and emails.
We are looking forward to a great 2023-’24 school year. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 405-224-3822. We look forward to seeing everyone soon!