CLEAR FORK VALLEY — The newest member of the Clear Fork School District board of education has been at work there for five months.
Amy Weekley, a former teacher, said she thinks she has a firm understanding of the “business of education at hand” now, and has gotten herself “up to speed” on the important thing the board is overseeing — the construction of two new elementary school buildings.
“Business wise” it is important to be able to relate to people, Weekley said. When she taught she was a teacher leader. That means she has experience “working with all kinds of people” and knows how to bring them together.
Weekley is one of four persons running for three positions.
Board member Jim Klenk is running for re-election. New candidates are Jennifer Stallard and Kyle Beveridge.
Weekley said she has had discussions with other board members about items to be pursued.
She said the number one thing is building new elementary schools. Ground has been broken for a Butler and a Bellville building.
Curriculum is important to Weekley, she said, and she thinks “all kids” should be prepared and able to use their potential for growth.
She said the Clear Fork schools are using STEM, which refers to science, technology, engineering and math. This is a type of teaching that is so new even the state doesn’t have it, she said.
This has made Ipads available in the lower elementary grades, and there are 3d printers in use.
Under STEM kids are writing computer programs. A man named Ed Kossick is teaching computer courses.
Kids should be aware of the need to be safe using the internet, Weekley said.
She said she has told her kids “you don’t know anything other than this,” holding up her phone.
We live in a “careless society,” Weekley said. People are quick to use some things that could be considered dangerous because they “don’t know any other world.”
There are now “literacy coaches” at Butler and Bellville. They are part of a five year program where in the first year there is training for coaches. In the second year there is implementation where workers are training teachers. One half of the day is devoted to teaching and one half to coaching. T
This results in a type of “collaboration” and it’s never about “I’m over you.”
There have been summer camps in the schools, devoted to math and literacy. Some things in teaching now are “outside reading, writing and arithmetic,” Weekley said.
One thing Weekley garnered when she was teaching was to have her class chosen as one of three in the state to work on literacy programs.
She said there were “amazing results” om tracking kids’ progress.
“If you could teach kids with an illiterate background, think of what you can do with a literacy background,” said Weekley.
There is something called “scaffolding” in teaching, where a temporary framework is put up, then goes away. She referred to taking the word “at,” then telling kids how to turn that into cat, bat, sat.
Quality curriculum and professional development are important in schools these days.
If kids want to be successful, to have a “leg up,” they have to learn how to be competitive because that’s how it is with “the next guy,” said Weekley.
She said though she has quit teaching, she is active and volunteers in various events. She said she is now reading three different books, for “personal growth.”
She feels there is a “synergy” on the school board, with people with backgrounds in education, engineering, managing people and curriculum.
She is looking forward to completion of the two new buildings.
Going the route of two new buildings was decided after community meetings. Some people said they feared a village would “dry up” if it lost a school building. She said research has shown that is the case, and admits “that did not occur to me.”
Building at the site in Bellville will not be easy, she said. The old building has to be retained until the new one is done.
Weekley said there are “always challenges” and those require new processes.