Changes abound as school year begins

W ith the school year starting next Thursday for Whitehall students, the district has gone through a transformation this summer, one that Superintendent Elizabeth Legault believes will help streamline the district, creating an efficient learning community.
Some of the most prominent changes to the district for this upcoming school year include the implementation of block scheduling and the drastic increase of educational technology in the classroom.
“Technology has increased, we have 640 Google Chromebooks for every student, grades 2-12, we have a new ‘study island’ and we now offer a full-time technology class at the elementary level,” Legault said.
There is a new focus on data driven instruction and professional learning communities, which will be implemented as part of the block scheduling. Legault believes this will help create “college and career ready students.”
“We are changing our focus and mind set,” Legault explained. “If a student ends up at Harvard, Princeton, SUNY Adirondack or anywhere else, we want to make sure we at Whitehall Central School supported that.”
In addition to student related changes over the summer, the district held a lot of professional development days, which were well attended by the faculty and staff. With 10.5 new hires within the district, Legault will be conducting a new teacher orientation, to help get the teachers acclimated to the Whitehall community.
Enrollment at the district is up slightly, as Legault has been encouraging parents, guardians and other community members to get involved in the school.
“We are trying to invite people to their school, because it is everyone’s school,” Legault said. “If we have a good day, it’s everybody’s good day; if we have a bad day, I’ll take the blame for that one.”
In addition to all the curriculum and education-based changes, the district has also seen some physical changes.
Every room in the high school and middle school has been stripped and painted; the windows have all been cleaned; the lockers, walls and floors have been washed; new lighting will be put in the hallways to make it brighter; Whitehall-themed wall decals are on their way; and the cafeteria has an all new, two-line set up.
“I think aesthetics matter and can help make students want to be here; because we want them here.” Legault explained.
“It’s been a great summer for this district and I think the excitement is here,” said Legault, who is preparing for her first full school year as superintendent.
Legault took a moment to thank all of the different district employees, whom she credits with her confidence and preparedness heading into the school year.
“We have a wonderful faculty and staff, the board of education has been incredibly supportive of new initiatives, and my personal support staff has been amazing as well.” Legault concluded.
The elementary school starts at 9 a.m. on Sept. 4, while the high school and middle school start at 7:30 a.m.

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