It’s not every day a group of 300 community members can see firsthand what goes on in an Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. classroom, but Superintendent David Smith made it possible.
During his sixth annual State of Our Schools presentation to the Evansville Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon, Smith took the crowd into two EVSC classrooms via Skype: Traci Druschke’s third grade class at Oak Hill School, and a student debate at Shepard Academy. Smith said he wanted to take a different approach this year.
“Typically I try to cover 10 miles wide and maybe just an inch deep,” he said. “But today we spent a great deal of time on GAIN, because it is that important in terms of how we redesign education. I also wanted to make it real for folks. What better way to make it real than to bring them into a classroom?”
The theme of Smith’s speech “redefining education” focused on GAIN, which stands for growth in academics through innovation and neuroeducation. GAIN is part of a five-year continuous improvement plan.
“Education, like everything else around us, is changing,” Smith said. “More content does not equal mastery in a subject. … We have to continue to find better ways to do things.”
Bosse High School senior Javien Langley was at the speech with other Bosse basketball players. Langley, 18, said it was a blessing to learn how EVSC educators, administrators and staff make learning possible for kids.
“I really like the things they’re planning to do to enhance our learning experience, not only for me but for all the kids in the future. … If you get students involved young, they will want to learn in the future and will stay in school and go to college,” he said.
Science and research states after nearly 10 minutes of sitting still, a person will start to fidget, shift and their mind will wonder, Smith said. Physical movement is important with GAIN, because Smith said it reengages students in thinking.
"GAIN is about the whole student ... and making certain the biological aspect of the child’s life is where it should be,” Smith said. “We want to make certain the child’s brain is in a ready state to learn.”
Maureen Barton, EVSC Foundation executive director, said it’s obvious EVSC’s innovative programs, educators and community partnerships are all centered around students.
“Students are the core, the heart of why EVSC works hard to provide the very best opportunities for every child, every single child, to succeed,” Barton said. “Once I had children of my own, I finally understood the phrase, “it takes a village” and EVSC has built a strong village.”
Smith also highlighted numerous teacher, staff, administrator and student awards.
“I hope you are as proud of this school corporation as I am,” he told the crowd.
Langley said his teachers have prepared him for life after high school.
“Over my four years, I’ve had the best education,” he said. “I wouldn’t choose anywhere else other than Bosse.”