Superintendents’ Spotlight: Buddy Berry, Eminence Independent

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Buddy Berry
Buddy Berry

The Eminence Independent school district has redesigned its instructional experience for kindergarten through 12th-grade students with its School on F.I.R.E. (Framework of Innovation for Reinventing Education) model. The model revolves around the Council of Chief State School Officers’ six critical attributes for innovation.

In the area of anytime, anywhere learning, all students in grades 3-12 are issued a MacBook Pro;  kindergarten, 1st- and 2nd-grade students are provided with iPads, iPods and MacBooks. Student instruction occurs onsite, virtually and offsite, and the district proudly has the state’s first Wi-Fi-equipped bus.

In the district, learning is personalized, as are lessons, to students’ interests, activities, skill levels and mastery. Eminence Independent has created the Student D.N.A. (Digital Narrative Album) to create a comprehensive overview of student data. Our ICE (Interventions, Connections and Enrichments) model for all individual lessons and courses includes a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule of core classes and a Tuesday-Thursday schedule for ICE. All students also are given personalized progressions for their learning pathways.

In terms of comprehensive systems of support, the district uses an adviser/advisee mentoring program for all students. SPARC (Student Parent Advisor Readiness Councils) teams meet regularly to success plan and goal set for all students. The district is working on the creation/design of a Competency Collector application for tracking competencies met.

To ensure that all students graduate with world-class skills and knowledge, the district’s policies and practices include a “B or Better” grading policy in a mastery model. The Exemplars of Eminence Excellence outlines 21st-century skills for each grade level; more than 30 hours of college credit opportunities in the district’s Early College Program; and a next-generation skills continuum created for kindergarten through 12th-grade students that includes Web 2.0 tools, 3-D printing, coding, gaming, and multimedia presentations beginning in kindergarten.

Eminence Independent also has a Student Voice Team that participates in all district decision-making and includes voting student members as part of district school-based decision making councils.

In measuring performance-based assessment, Eminence Independent uses a districtwide cloud learning management system with standards-based grading, project-based learning and panel reviews for graduation of each school for kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade and 12th grade.

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