Penns Valley

Penns Valley panel examines educational goals, improvements

When district leaders noticed that some Penns Valley Area students were not tuned in to class in a traditional setting, it raised a red flag for those involved in local education.

And board Vice President Melissa Krum said something needs to get done to make sure the district is providing good-quality education, so students don’t “slip through the cracks.”

“The district strives to provide an environment where all students are able to foster their individual success,” she said.

“Educational programming should be examined to make sure the district is providing the best education possible for all students.”

Krum teamed up with Superintendent Brian Griffith to create an ad hoc Educational Innovation Committee to find ways to spark the passion of education back into students.

“I think the charge is to ignite passion for learning,” Krum said.

“This is an enhancement, not a replacement.”

The district hopes to partner with the community to join the committee to look into the process, see what the future of education might look like and develop programming.

The mission is to target students who plan to work after graduation, attend a two- or four-year institute or trade school or enlist in the military, and prepare students for the post-secondary environment they choose.

“Researching innovative educational ideas in an ever-changing global society is imperative in order to meet the needs of students today,” Krum said. “We want to keep the possibilities open.”

The district is reaching out to community members for more feedback and hopes to get a “broad spectrum of individuals,” including students, teachers and parents, Griffith said.

“We’re asking people to commit to five to seven meetings in the late winter and early spring, and get some ideas on what this could look like,” Griffith said.

The idea for creating a committee came in November when it was brought to the board and administration’s attention that some students’ needs were not being met.

“I think that is a situation for a lot of districts with different learners and different personalities, and we’re attempting to start researching ways to meet the needs and challenges and find new paradigms of education,” Griffith said.

“The key thing is we need to research everything in advance and see what is feasible and where there are gaps.”

The goal is to create programming that targets all students.

“Many kids are successful in regular programs, but may not be passionate about learning; we want them to be,” Griffith said.

“That’s part of the mission and vision. Some students march through the traditional system and do well, and other kids do reasonably well, but do they really like school?”

The hope is to have a plan in place by the end of the school year, Griffith said.

But the district knows improvements would need to be made in the process.

“I think everyone is excited about the possibilities and cautiously optimistic because there are so many facets to the process,” Krum said.

“We want to be at the forefront of the learning curve.”