Superintendent Spotlight: Leon Smith, Russellville Independent

Leon Smith

The Russellville Independent school district is a small district that is making gains in student academic achievement. Through the leadership of a strong experienced central office team, building administrators and a very committed staff, the district is now seeing improved achievement in all students.

The adjustments and program implementations during the 2015-16 school year are having a great impact on the success of students. Districtwide guided planning and coaching in all grade levels has greatly enhanced instruction with positive results seen in assessments. As a result of weekly planning meetings and professional learning community meetings, teachers are exploring research-based instruction and modeling these new strategies in their classrooms for fellow teachers. Weekly walkthroughs and review of data are providing a laser focus on planning response-to-intervention and addressing individual student needs.

During hard economic times, Russellville Independent revamped school schedules, reallocated resources to support school improvement efforts and prioritized staff support and allocations for areas most in need. Full implementation of reading intervention programs has addressed the needs of challenged students. With these supports, the focus on literacy and mathematics in kindergarten through 8th grade is seeing significant gains.

The district also has focused on early childhood literacy. Participation in early learning programs has provided literacy support outside the school walls for students ages 2 to 3rd grade with vocabulary acquisition, comprehension and creativity. This work also supports Born Learning Academies that provide support to parents by working with their children from birth to age 3 with the goal of closing achievement gaps.

Russellville Independent’s focus on gifted education provides opportunities for students in the arts as well as academics. The Students Engaged in Accelerated Learning program offers students opportunities to accelerate learning at their own pace. The district also is approaching one-to-one in providing technology for all students and exploring opportunities for the Panther College Academy with students being transported and attending a local community college.

Russellville Independent is proud of the accomplishments of its students, which would not be possible without the support of local community leaders, staff and – most of all – great students. The district’s motto, “Every Child, Every Day,” truly is something that it emphasizes every day.

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