Guest Column – School District kicks off the new year with new and improved resources for students


Part one of two

As the new school year unfolds, RSU 21 administrators are working hard to ensure that all students have the tools they need to have a productive and successful year. Dr. Terri Cooper, Superintendent of RSU 21, highlights some of the new and improved systems and services the district provides for students to generate that atmosphere of achievement.

Dr. Terri Cooper, Superintendent of RSU 21, highlights some of the new and improved systems and services the district provides for students to generate that atmosphere of achievement. Courtesy picture

“I am very enthusiastic about our visual and performing arts program. I’m so happy to report that every building in our district has art and music,” Dr. Cooper said. “In the past, not all schools offered all visual and performing arts offerings, and many of these teaching positions were part-time. This upgrade represents a response to requests from communities that we value the arts, and I am proud of the rich range of expanded arts curricula we now offer.

Cooper highlights the critical relationship between improved social and emotional support and healthy, happy, and successful students. Each school in the district now has at least one counselor and one social worker, with additional social work staff throughout the district. This increased capacity is essential for schools to be able to deal with students in acute circumstances quickly and effectively and effectively bridge the gap when they seek services in the community. Additionally, the district partners with Spurwink to provide student resources and services. “Not every school district has the capacity to provide that safety net,” Cooper said.

Curriculum is also at the forefront of this year’s changes. “We operate our general education services based on a tiered system. Level 1 includes the classroom instruction that all students receive,” said Anita Bernhardt, assistant superintendent. “Level 2 is for students who need a little extra support. This is usually taught in class. Our Guided Reading Groups are an example of Level 2 literacy support.

“Level 3 services are typically 1:1 and are designed to provide highly targeted accelerated learning. Students who do not progress after receiving Level 3 services are often considered for specially designed instruction provided as part of the IEP process.

RSU 21 has used this tiered approach to math, literacy, and behavior for several years. This year, the administration continues to refine the system.

“I think everyone would agree that the curriculum and the instruction are the most important parts of school,” Cooper said. “This year, we are taking a close look at math programs to make sure they support students in developing math skills for today’s jobs. A similar review for grades 6-12 social studies has begun in the district.

A standing curriculum committee was added to the school board last spring to ensure the curriculum meets community expectations and positions the school board to help maintain district education goals.

“We offer a variety of student pathways and offerings, including AP courses, alternative education, vocational programs, and additional courses that students can access through community colleges and universities,” Cooper said.

RSU 21 students have access to a wide range of co-curricular, co-curricular and sports programs. “We are proud of our students’ accomplishments in these areas,” Cooper said. “Whether in track and field championships, robotics, musical ensembles or community involvement, our students have access and demonstrate their passion and prowess beyond the classroom. We are committed to constantly improving the education we provide to our students. We have made significant improvements that I believe help us achieve this goal. »

Ann Ewing is a writer and media relations specialist for KDK Consulting Group. She can be reached at 615-419-3753.

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