Monday marks the first day of school in , where administrators have spent the summer planning new goals and initiatives for the upcoming year.
Last week, Patch sat down with the principals of and to discuss what's in store for each school, and what parents should know as their children head back to class.
Today, we feature a brief Q&A with South Principal Steve Bild.
PATCH: What are your main goals or areas of focus for the 2012-13 school year?
BILD: One of the things we'll be focusing on this year is getting students more involved in extracurricular activities. We want them to take advantage of everything our school has to offer, and have the richest experience possible.
We have also have two major initiatives we'll be focusing on this year. The first is our Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program, which aims to improve the culture of our school and promote positive interactions among teachers and students. This is our second year in that program, which we call "Mustang Way." The goal is for students to be respectful, responsible and engaged in all areas of the high school structure. We reward students who follow this by stamping their planner, which they are able to use to purchase items from our school store.
The second thing we're doing this year is our African-American success initiative. At South, we have several groups of students that we need to focus on improving, with test scores and student involvement. This program will focus on outreach to students and parents, as well as educating our teachers and staff about what the African-American experience has been at South. We feel that we haven't been reaching out enough to parents and students about all the resources they have to be successful.
PATCH: What challenges do you anticipate facing this year?
BILD: One of the things that continues to challenge us is just making sure kids take advantage of everything we offer, whether it's extracurricular activities or support that we offer during the school day. There are so many things students can do to be successful, so we want to make sure we communicate with them and get them more involved.
PATCH: What things are you most looking forward to as the school year begins?
BILD: It's always exciting just to get the students and teachers back in the building. We have a number of wonderful events planned this fall, from our open house to Homecoming and pep assemblies. It's going to be a great year.
PATCH: In terms of academics, how do you track the overall performance of the school and determine whether things are going well?
BILD: We use a five-year progression of test scores, as well as the ACT. We also look at AP scores and how our students are doing on those exams. Despite the high standards set by No Child Left Behind, we are pleased with the progress of our students, and are focused this year on reaching out to those groups in need of improvement.
PATCH: How can parents get more involved at DGS?
BILD: We have a very strong PTA that does a lot for us. They've helped this school quite a bit. We also have a parent advisory group that meets each month, and our school booster clubs.
I think one of the most important things a parent can do is to just keep up with their student's grades. They can go to our website and log in to see all of that. It's critical that they know what's going on in each class, and how the student is performing throughout the year.
Check back tomorrow for a Q&A with North Principal Scott Kasik.
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