Though the administration and faculty have undergone changes this year, Keys Public Schools students are taking notice of the new additions to the elementary and high school campuses.
A new seventh- and eighth-grade center equipped with six classrooms, a computer lab, and office space have been opened on the elementary campus, while the high school added a new wing to house classrooms, a computer lab and a state-of-the-art science lab.
Keys Superintendent Billie Jordan, in her first year leading the district, said changes or additions in administration and staff include Leon Ashlock, high school principal; Tami Woods, director of special services and alternative education; Robin Sanders, high school counselor; Mickey Duncan, high school girls’ basketball coach and chemistry teacher; Lynetta Fisher, high school softball coach and health and science teacher; and Calvin Klugh, baseball coach.
Though the finishing touches had not yet been made on the seventh- and eighth-grade center, teachers and students moved in when school began in August.
“We’ve had lockers installed since then, and we have the computer lab up and running,” said Jordan. “There are a few things left to do. We’ve still got furniture coming in.”
The classrooms surrounding the science lab are being used, but the lab itself is not yet complete. The vented hood for fume ventilation has been installed, but water and gas services aren’t online.
“The science lab is installed, but it’s not all connected,” Jordan said. “It’s a gorgeous facility. We’re going to try to have an open house next month when we get things up and going. It’s just really a good opportunity for the students. The kids are really responding well. They like the lab. It will probably be another month before we finally get everything up and fully functioning.”
To help implement the state’s new Common Core Standards, the district altered its Friday start time from 8 to 9 a.m., which will allow for teachers’ professional learning community meetings. Jordan said there have been no problems with the end-of-the-week schedule change.
“The first day it was kind of confusing for some people, but since the changes, it’s running well,” she said. “We do have some kids that need to come early and we have supervision for them. The teachers have been really appreciative of the training, and we’ve been really working hard.”
The professional learning community offers an opportunity for teachers to work together as a group.
“Sometimes we have all the math teachers meet or all of the English teachers or by grade level. They work on addressing individual student needs, looking at test scores and developing a pacing guide,” said Jordan.
“The principal organizes and facilitates those meetings, and we have a lead group of common core teachers who also help facilitate all that.”
Ashlock, current athletic director and former Lady Cougar head basketball coach, is in his first year as the high school principal. He said the transition has gone well.
“It’s been a real big learning curve trying to figure everything out, but we have a great staff and that’s made it a lot easier for me than it would be for most,” he said. “We’re excited to have the new facilities. We think it’ll be a good asset for the school and the kids.”
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