By Jerry House Big Sky School District Superintendent
In School House News, Supt. Jerry House shares his point of view on education and the Big Sky School District – his favorite place for teaching and learning. News is selected from all three schools – Ophir Elementary, Ophir Middle School and Lone Peak High School.
Not long ago, the Big Sky School District was known as the Ophir School District, and had only grades K-8. With the addition of Lone Peak High School, our K-12 BSSD is becoming noted for great programs, talented teachers, and supportive community that value our children’s education.
At the heart of our educational system, we have several strong ingredients that, when mixed together, form a cohesive program we’re very proud of.
The first ingredient is the leadership of a strong school board. Its members are well educated and demand quality from our programs, curriculum and instructional practices. When our teachers and administrators present new programs, and revise curriculum and resource materials, helping to increase the rigor and challenge for students, the board questions the validity of each change, and expects nothing but excellence.
The driving forces to mixing the school’s ingredients are our excellent teachers. All teachers are part of a staff development program, regardless of grade level. Some Lone Peak High School teachers, for example, are taking Advanced Placement level certification from the National College Board, making sure AP classes taught at LPHS are equal to or exceed expectations for college level classes or credit.
Our K-8 staff members are deeply involved with the Response to Intervention program, wherein all resources are used to bring up to grade level students who need assistance, or to enhance the advanced child needing a more rigorous program. These teachers introduce letters, numbers, sounds and the elements of social development that make our system strong as students advance to other grade levels.
The final ingredients are the supportive parents and our community members. The CAP and Parent Liaison programs allow students and adults to mix expertise and expectations for growth of individuals, as well as the district. Library volunteers assist both the district and the community, making the library’s resources available for everyone’s use. Our newly formed Big Sky Parent Teacher Organization (formerly known as Ophir School Council) is central to our community coming together to support this growing school district.
There truly is no secret that we all play a part in the success of the Big Sky School District.