Here’s to a great school year!Leonard Presberg
It’s almost time for school to start again, and as usual, I am approaching the new year with great optimism. I think it’s because, as a preschool teacher, I always see the wonder, the curiosity, and the potential. I think we’re making progress towards having our schools provide the opportunity for all our children to succeed in the world they will live in.
Schools where our students don’t parrot back information but apply what they know to the situation they are in. Schools where our students aren’t trained as test takers but instead nurtured as creative thinkers who can collaborate with their peers and communicate their ideas. Schools that do that give students equal opportunities to explore, to learn, and to practice real life skills in real life situations.
And I think that is exactly what we are doing with our Centers of Innovation. I’ve been talking about this concept of partnering with our state technical school, local business and our schools to offer up-to-date, relevant and interesting Career and Technical classes to all our students since I’ve been on the School Board. We can talk about the benefits of these partnerships in terms of economic development and workforce training (like our Lieutenant Governor) or as I prefer, we can focus on the benefits that these programs provide educationally for any student whether they get a job in that field right out of high school or whether they go to college to study something else.
Our new programs in healthcare and culinary arts offer our students the opportunities to do real things, in a real environment, use real equipment, learn what it takes to get a certificate, and so many other skills. I can’t wait to see how our Centers work out and how we can continue to expand these programs – I can see Centers for engineering, fine arts, construction, or aviation. We know our students want and need these programs and it’s our responsibility to work together to ensure success.
I’m also excited about the signs of an economic turnaround. Property tax revenues and ESPLOST sales tax revenues are up. We’re putting that increased revenue back into our schools so we can offer every students world-class opportunities. We are adding about 50 teachers and over 30 parapros so we can meaningfully impact class sizes. Teachers are getting a step increase for experience and all employees are getting a 2% COLA so we can continue to work towards compensating our employees commensurate with their worth to our children and future. We’re adding computer technicians and instructional technology specialists to continue to help teachers transform their classrooms with up to date technology. We’ve added an additional position to coordinate business partnerships and aligned counseling to continue to push our capacity to offer internships, work with business and community partners, and continue to expose our children to the best opportunities available.
Public education is the lifeblood of Fayette County. Our schools bring us together as a community. Our schools are for all of our students and the quality of this school system impacts everyone. Our schools are the reason we moved here. And our schools are the economic engine that will allow us to sell our house someday. I believe that our community cares deeply about and understands the importance of our public education system and with that community support we can be the best school system anywhere.
I am available to come talk to your PTO, neighborhood, or church group. If you see me out walking around, feel free to stop and say hi. You can follow updates or pose questions on leonardp.com or following frequent links on education and politics on Facebook.
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