Lakota Schools Holds First State of the Schools

Lakota Schools Holds First State of the Schools
Posted on 03/22/2018
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presenters at State of the SchoolsLakota Local Schools held its first annual State of the Schools address on March 13. Approximately 200 people filled the seats on Lakota West High School’s Main Street to hear Superintendent Matthew Miller and his guest speakers talk about district accomplishments and future plans.

Freedom Four, a four-member band comprised of sixth graders from Freedom Elementary School, kicked off the hour-long event with two original songs performed above the crowd on the bridge walkway.  Quinn Cooper, Max Lenhoff, Sawyer Rock and Lilly Plummer performed their award winning “MLK Song” and debuted “Oh, Lakota,” written specifically for the State of the Schools.

Throughout the evening, students and staff members took to the stage to expand on Miller’s points. “It’s our students and staff who make this district successful,” said Miller. “Our community needs to hear their stories and the State of the Schools is a great opportunity to showcase them.”

Independence third grader, Avery Jenkins, with the support of her brothers Colby and Zachary, spoke about their love of the school’s STEAM2 lab, while Ridge seventh grader, Leo Kofron discussed being a part of the 1:1 technology pilot in his school. Leo whole-heartedly approves of the district’s decision to purchase Chromebooks for the junior schools, noting that technology is a great tool to increase efficiency for researching topics.

Dustin Horter, a senior at Lakota East, talked about balancing athletics and academics and the support he’s received from teachers and coaches through the year. The state champion runner said, “...there is no shortage of love and support from the staff... and students. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the experiences they’ve left me with.”

Gabrielle Mathis, an eighth grader at Hopewell Junior, and Sandra Twumasi, a senior at Lakota West, both spoke about their Lakota experiences. During elementary school, Gabrielle attended a parochial school, but asked her parents to let her return to Lakota once the school levy passed in 2013. Gabrielle spoke about the opportunities she has at Lakota and how fortunate she feels to have been able to return to the school district. Originally from Ghana, Sandra came to Lakota in elementary school when her uncle invited her to live with him so that she could receive a better education. Far from her parents and siblings, Sandra told how “the teachers helped me and encouraged me...They push me every day to do my best.”

The audience was also able to hear from staff members about innovation in our schools. Todd Caulfield talked about flexible learning spaces and how his sixth graders at Cherokee Elementary School are benefitting. Nicole Isaacs, assistant principal at Lakota’s Career Readiness Academy, announced that the academy has had 17 graduates so far this school year. “Our smaller, flexible environment helps students face some of the barriers to success they may be dealing with,” she told the crowd.

Miller also addressed innovation in the classroom, teacher collaboration and school safety. “Tonight has been about giving our community a look inside our schools - at both what is happening now and what we are planning for the future. We are building on a strong foundation at Lakota and will continue to engage our kids in learning while providing an education that is student-centered. We will continue to be innovative in the classroom and build out the resources for our kids and teachers to help them succeed.”

Lakota School Board President, Julie Shaffer, was excited about the event. “(The State of the Schools) was a great opportunity to highlight what Matt Miller and his team have accomplished by listening to our staff, students and community and adapting.”

Miller also announced that the district has begun a new strategic planning process. Shaffer noted, “It’s an exciting time to be in Lakota. I look forward to supporting Mr. Miller’s effort to move us forward and continue to build on this positive momentum.”

Click here to view Lakota’s State of the Schools address.