Leadership Owen County: Group learns about learning

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On May 7, members of the 2014 Cohort of Leadership Owen County had the chance to get a taste of what goes on in all three Owen County schools as part of Leadership Owen’s Education Day.  
During the day, the cohort had the opportunity to visit the campuses of Maurice Bowling Middle School, Owen County High School and Owen County Elementary School, where they learned about how the schools’ use student performance data to improve instruction; how students are prepared to become college and career ready; and what part technology plays in how students learn in the Owen County schools.
The day started at Maurice Bowling Middle School where Owen County School District Superintendent Rob Stafford began with a short overview of the initiatives underway in the Owen County schools.
The Owen County schools were recently named a part of a federal Race to the Top grant that is supplying staff and resources designed to make all of Owen County’s students college and career ready.  Reggie Taylor, the district’s director of instruction, reviewed specific information about the schools and their performance.  
Donette Gaines, principal of Maurice Bowling Middle School, explained how the middle school uses test scores and other student data to focus on students, encouraging growth and progress in every child.
The group then walked to Owen County High School where they began with a visit to Rusty Willhoite’s technology class to watch several students race CO2 dragsters down a track designed and built by technology students.  Each car was designed using CAD software, was then hand-crafted, painted and assembled, and then raced to see which design was most aerodynamic.
After visiting the technology class, the visitors were treated to a lunch prepared by Kim Webster’s culinary arts class.  The students prepared a tasty lunch of pulled pork and all the fixings, and then stayed to serve the visitors as they prepared to have lunch.  The luncheon provided the students an excellent opportunity to practice the skills they have been learning throughout their time with Webster.
Duane Kline, principal of Owen County High School, noted learning always becomes more meaningful when students can practice the skills they learn in a real-world setting.
Duane Kline and Anne Kline, the district’s college and career readiness counselor, discussed the importance of every student leaving high school having met performance benchmarks and having a plan for being college and/or career ready.  Such plans might include attending a two- or four-year college, joining a branch of the military or heading straight into the world of work, and helping students to set goals and commit to a direction for their lives before graduating from high school is a key to seeing Owen County students achieve at higher levels, no matter what they do after high school.
The final stop for the day was Owen County Elementary School, led by principal Sharen Hubbard.  The focus of this visit was on instructional technology being used in our classrooms.
In addition, emerging technologies were also demonstrated by Naomi Cornette, the district’s technology coordinator.
Stafford ended the day with a brief question-and-answer session and discussed how the community can get involved with our schools.