The School Board has set abolishing obesity and bullying as new goals for the school year.
The board, in maintaining some of the old goals and establishing about a dozen new ones, will use them as a foundation for setting next year’s budget. Vice chairman Thomas Reed recommended asking the Board of Supervisors to endorse them.
Bob Ohneiser (Broad Run) agreed, saying the supervisors should be aware that many of the initiatives will affect the budget. “We need to be forthright to explain why it might have an impact, and it might increase the budget,” he said Tuesday.
THE BOARD CREATED a new category, “Health, Safety and Wellness,” with the objective to promote programs that enhance students’ health, safety and well-being. Loudoun public schools will strengthen programs that support safe learning environments free of bullying, teasing and physical violence. They will address student obesity through programs developed to improve nutrition and promote physical fitness through lifetime activities.
“For some people bullying or teasing is part of growing up, but Columbine will tell you different,” said Chairman John Andrews, referring to the mass slayings of students and teachers by youth who had been the target of bullying. “It not only affects a child’s mental and physical well being, but their education. You have to create a comfortable environment for children to learn.”
Localizing the national fight against obesity also is essential, he said. “A child who is not physically well doesn’t do as well academically.”
Joseph Guzman (Sugarland Run) said the fight against obesity is extremely important. “We should be proactive to see what we can do about it,” he said.
GOAL: Academy/Magnet school programs will be developed to serve students with special interests and abilities.
“I’d like to look at additional summer-school offerings in the areas of enrichment,” he said.
He likened development of the academies to establishing “educational flagships for the county.”
Priscilla Godfrey (Blue Ridge) said further study of academies and magnets schools is key. “That has been a goal of mine for a long time to have a performing arts magnet school in the county,” she said. “We have a lot of extremely talented youth, and they would benefit from it.”
GOAL: High schools will support increased student participation in school-sponsored co-curricular activities.
She also supported the goal to provide more extra-curricular activities at the high-school level. “We would encourage expanding extra-curricular offerings so we provide more opportunity for teenagers to have leadership experience,” she said. “I would like to see more participation so everyone is involved in something.”
GOAL: LCPS will provide means to include parental input in assessment of school performance.
Ohneiser cited parental input as crucial. “We finally acknowledge the people closest to the situation,” he said. “Parent’s shouldn’t be ignored.”
GOAL: Develop content and maintenance standards for individual school Web sites to ensure that students and parents throughout Loudoun County will have access to the information they need for academic progress and success.
Ohneiser also supports the goal of having every teacher build a home page within 18 months to provide online homework and information about reading and math skill levels. “It really enables the children to plan ahead instead of feeling like you’re running to catch up,” he said.
Students can look online and do your homework in advance, or make up what they missed.
Another plus is that parents would learn what to do if their child was not at grade level in reading, math or other subjects. “Here are some exercises to help your child to catch up,” he said. “It should help parents to educate their children.”