Peer pressure can be hard to resist, which is why Oberlin City Schools superintendent David Hall wants to give students every tool he can to boost their confidence.
Responding to community feedback about a lack of social services offered through the district, Hall is partnering this year with The LCADA Way.
Courses taught by social workers will help eighth- and ninth-graders develop skills essential to resisting pressures, increasing self-esteem, coping with anxiety, and enhancing healthy thinking and behaviors.
“A guidance counselor and a social worker have two different degrees,” Hall said. “LCADA will have more training in that area.”
Lynn Swanson, guidance counselor for last names A to M, retired. Jennifer Bracken, guidance counselor for last names N to Z, will take over for the whole alphabet.
Safety precautions will be tighter this year throughout Oberlin school buildings. More security cameras were purchased for the high school and identification badges will be required for all substitute teachers, teachers, parents, and volunteers who enter the building.
Staff will also work with firefighters and police officers to ensure lockdown policy is aligned throughout the district. Training sessions led by Oberlin police Lt. Mike McCloskey have been scheduled at each of the four schools.
A GPS tracker system has been installed in all buses. Parents will soon be able to download a phone application to track bus locations and see when their kids are picked up.
Hall wants more parental involvement and plans to host workshops and community coffee chats. Hopefully by second semester, parents will have online access to student grades and homework, he said.
The district’s website — www.oberlinschools.net — got a facelift. Along with being responsive to mobile devices and tablets, the new site consolidates many pages, reducing the number of clicks needed to navigate.
Calendars for all four schools were merged together, color-coded, and placed on the homepage.
Among various pages and tabs is a section for community members to stay updated on the district’s strategic plan, an in-progress road map leading the Oberlin City Schools through the next five years.
Steve Horton, a consultant with the Ohio School Board Association, has been guiding 35 team members through the strategic process. The group consists of teachers, administrators, school board members, staff members, parents, and community stakeholders. The process is entirely grant-funded.
In four meetings throughout last year, Horton asked the group to identify values the school system should embrace, what its mission should be, and what problems need solved. That process will repeat in 2018-2019.
With a potential new school on the horizon, the effort is aimed at ensuring school administrators are all working toward a common goal.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.