As I reflect on my 40+ years in education, a lot has changed – and for the better.
While we continue to teach reading, writing and arithmetic as educators have done so for generations, the methodology differs in today’s classroom.
In order to reach and engage the 21st century learner, hands-on, project-based learning brings lessons to life; students work in clusters to build team-working skills; and integrated technology makes it real. No longer can we expect children to learn solely by reading from textbooks. As educators, it is our job to encourage students to look at a problem and use critical thinking skills to derive a theory or solution. That is what will lead to their success in this fast-paced, high-tech society we live in.
Bossier Schools is a strong believer in providing our teachers professional development to make learning relevant. When educators are excited, that enthusiasm is contagious and motivates students to embrace and explore the world of academia. I am proud to say this is reflected by our district having the most highly effective teachers in the state of Louisiana.
Not all lessons learned in Bossier Schools are of academic nature, though. We are firm believers in character education, as evident by our district’s community service initiative. During the 2013-14 academic year, each of our schools and centers was encouraged to pay it forward by “Helping Hearts One Week at a Time.” The desire of our students and employees to help others, and their level of commitment to this community, know no boundaries and never cease to amaze me.
Quantifying those efforts is difficult, but more than $47,000 was raised for various charitable organizations; thousands of canned goods and non-perishable items were donated to local food pantries; truck loads of school supplies, shoes, clothing and housewares were collected for those in need; and days of service were spent improving the lives of airmen at Barksdale Air Force Base, veterans at the Northwest Louisiana War Veterans Home and animals at no-kill rescue shelters. The list is lengthy and goes on.
At Bossier Schools, we are about the total child; from their education to their character. By instilling in them the knowledge, talents and contributions they can lend to our community and beyond, we all reap the rewards.
D.C. Machen, Jr.
Bossier Schools Superintendent