The new school year begins on Wednesday; however, there are some important changes at Fairbury Public Schools that people need to be aware of.
Superintendent Stephen Grizzle explained that there are several changes to the scheduling this year. Classes start at all of the schools in Fairbury at 8:15 a.m., then on Fridays, there will be an early release.
“Every Friday, we’re going to be dismissing at 1:35 at the High School, 1:25 at Jefferson and 1:15 at Central,” said Grizzle. “That’s going to give us the opportunity to have professional development time with the teachers.”
He stated that there was a lot of discussion about how best to implement this time for professional development. One idea in particular that he mentioned was implementing late starts to school, but he and others believe that this would make it more difficult for parents to bring their children to school.
During that professional development time, teachers will work together to find better ways to improve the quality of their instruction.
“Our district has adopted the Danielson Model of instruction,” Grizzle said. “It’s been in place for a number of years, and it’s been the basis of teacher evaluation, but there was never any concerted time spent going over what the instructional model is. So, I felt it was important for us to go through that; we’re going to spend the year talking about instruction.
What’s good instruction to you,” Grizzle continued, “may not be good instruction to me. So, people may talk about different parts of the instructional model differently. We just want to make sure we’re all on the same page. Most of the time is going to be spent talking about that; the other part is going to be spent talking about data and reviewing what’s working and what’s not working.”
Another important thing to note about scheduling this year is that the block schedule will remain the same at the high school this year. Earlier this year, the administration discussed altering that schedule somewhat to allow students to take certain classes all year long, rather than semester by semester.
“We investigated potentially making the change this past year, but we just felt like it wasn’t the right time to address that,” said Grizzle. “Our main focus this year is looking into those instructional strategies and looking at our curriculum. Then, if we feel like changing that schedule would further enhance our offerings, then we might be able to do that, but right now we’re focused on the curriculum.”
Yet another change taking place this fall is the shift from the Central Conference to the Southern Nebraska Conference, which Grizzle believes, in combination with the strong coaching staff, can greatly help give a good start to the fall sports season at Fairbury High School.
“We’re just really excited for this new year,” Grizzle said. “I think we’ve got a good football team that’s going to be having some success. Our volleyball team’s going to be better. Our cross country team’s going to be strong again. Our softball team went pretty far last year, we’re hoping they can go even farther this year. They might even make it to state and make some noise there. So, we’re definitely looking forward to the fall.”