AUBURN – Education in the 21st century has been at least a challenge for the last couple of years.
This was just one of the realities told during the recent program “Vision to 2022 – the state of education”, organized by the DeKalb Chamber Partnership and sponsored by the educational center named after J. Cruise.
Jackie Kempf, career coach at the J. Cruz, opened the discussion by sharing her excitement from the presentation, which was attended by superintendents representing three public school systems in the county. The presentation was also attended by a representative of the Freedom Academy and Phil Downes, a professor at Train University, who spoke about school funding.
“We are very excited about what we have today,” she said. “We appreciate all of our school districts and all the hard work you put in. We have wonderful things happening in this community, and we appreciate all your efforts. ”
Superintendents Steve Teders, Tonya Weaver and Shane Conwell said the collaboration the three of them have had over the past two years has been beneficial to the community and the students they serve.
Teders, head of DeCalba’s central schools, said the last two years have been the most challenging of his 30 years of study.
“For the past two years, we have worked together to provide the best education for our districts,” he said of the three executives working together. “I’m happy to call them my colleagues here in DeCalb County.”
Weaver, head of the Garrett-Kaiser-Butler school, said the collaboration was amazing.
“This is what has given us the opportunity to survive the last couple of years,” she said.
Conwell, head of the DeCalb Oriental Schools, is finishing his first year as superintendent.
“I got a lot of support from the county,” he said.
Collaboration between the three school districts helped them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing them to detain students in the classroom.
Each of the leaders shared highlights of their districts, each of which is open and allows students from across the county. They all work hard to prepare students for the future.
Teders said his system has returned to an initiative – launched directly before COVID – that defines a “portrait of a baron’s graduate”.
There are seven key elements to being a “Baron graduate” – adaptability, cooperation, communication, empathy, critical thinking, honesty and perseverance.
He said the school district’s goal is to carry those characteristics with them when they leave, allowing them to adapt to any situation after high school, allowing them to be successful.
“We know that scientists are strong. These are the additional attributes that we hope they will take with them to share with them in life, ”Teders said.
DeKalb’s new programs in central schools include the STEAM program in primary schools, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and music.
In Garrett Weaver said her district over the past couple of years has placed additional emphasis on community development through a variety of programs.
“We are lucky because we have one school town. We feel it gives students a sense of home, ”she said. “We value relationships that are built from the ground up.”
Weaver School District was recently named “Apple’s Great School” for the technology it can offer.
Before concluding the discussion, she focused on a career development program that has gained popularity and been successful over the past few years. The construction professions course and the heavy highway course were popular with students.
Programs such as these and those offered at the IMPACT Institute in Kendallville are valuable to those students seeking qualified training.
Canwell noted recent upgrades to the school system, including renovating the High School Library and Riverdale Elementary School Library, making them state-of-the-art media centers with the latest technology.
In the coming year, Conwell said the agricultural programs (FFA) and advanced production offerings at the school will be undergoing renovations.
“New partnerships in the advanced production program will enrich the program,” he said. “I look forward to many things that will happen in the future.”
He said one thing that makes DeKalb Eastern special is the cohesion of employees, including all employees, students, parents and society.
“I appreciate what everyone has done,” he said.
Anita Shepard, director of operations and customer service at Freedom Academy, outlined the programs offered by the academy.
The Academy of Liberty, located at Kendallville Public Training Center, offers programs that serve 11 counties in northeastern Indiana. It is a private non-profit workforce development organization that provides quality, practical, relevant, practical, cost-effective training and education in advanced areas of manufacturing, healthcare and professional services.
The academy also offers tutoring for students.