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Lebanon schools ready for growth in coming year

By Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Jan 10, 2014 at 11:56 PM

With the second half of the school year and a new year underway, Lebanon Special School District has numerous plans to look forward to in the coming year.

Director Scott Benson said there were several things on the horizon for the district, but at the top, of course, were the children.

“First and foremost, we’re going to continue to focus on taking care of the kids and families,” Benson said. “We’re going to focus a lot on teaching and learning, which we already do on a daily basis.

“We really want to ensure that the students are learning what they need to learn in order to be successful when they leave us,” Benson said.

In regards to learning, Benson said they would also continue with their focus with the Common Core state standards shift.

“We’ll continue to work with the mindset change with the teachers to go into greater depth and a higher level of thinking with the kids and continue to work on that,” Benson said.

Benson said additions at Winfree Bryant Middle School were also on the horizon and something the district had to look forward to in the coming months.

The school has plans to add 10 new classrooms to the campus. 

“We should be moving dirt in February, and we hope to move in by the first of November,” Benson said.

According to Benson, another “big addition” that the district has to look forward to is updating the technology infrastructure in school buildings and getting new devices for students.

“We plan to start a digital renaissance, so to speak,” Benson said.

In the future, Benson said he hopes to have a 1-to-1 ratio for technology, or one device to every student.

Benson said technology plans would start at the middle school level in the district, where they would then work out the kinks before continuing to the elementary schools.

“We hope to start with all of that at the beginning of the next school year,” Benson said.

In the most near future, Benson said the district would be going through a “reaccreditation process.”

“We’re going through it now and next week we’ll be visited by an external review team coming to our district,” Benson said.

Benson said five educators from other parts of Tennessee and other states would be a part of the team from AdvancED that certifies and accredits schools.

“They’ll review the district and spend time with administration, parents and community members,” Benson said. “But most of their time will be spent in the classroom with students and teachers and then they’ll give us a report.”

Benson said he was confident the district would be reaccredited. 

“We went through the process to have the district credited five years ago and it’s something that has to be done every five years to be reaccredited,” Benson said.

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