As the Paris Independent school district approaches its 150th anniversary, it is important to reflect on the past traditions and successes, but also to examine where the district is now and where it can be in the future.
It is easy to reflect on the past and honor Paris Independent’s notable alumni, undefeated football teams and state championships. The future is a little more difficult. Meeting the needs of all students becomes the driving force behind what the district does giving deeper meaning to the mission of “Success One-by-One.”
Being part of the University of Kentucky’s Next Generation Leadership Academy has given Paris Independent an increased focus on student voice. Also, greater access to technology through implementation of a 1:1 initiative at Paris High School, iPads for teachers and making iPads available at the middle and elementary schools has resulted in benefits throughout the district.
Paris Independent’s assessment data shows a need for increased focus on mathematics, English/language arts and 21st-century skills at all levels. To address this need, Paris Elementary School adopted a new math and English/language arts program that has the staff engaged in professional learning and skillfully implementing activities and lessons designed to engage students in taking ownership of their learning.
Paris Middle School and Paris High adopted the College Board’s pre-AP curriculum in math and English/language arts for grades 6 – 12, which is designed to place students on a pathway to become future-ready. Teachers have trained with nationally certified College Board trainers and created collaborative partners with other districts.
Student voice surveys indicate the need for the district’s schools to be more aligned with their interests through more active and hands-on learning experiences. As a result, Paris Independent has focused on personalized learning primarily delivered through project-/problem-based and blended learning. The district board of education has supported this work by investing resources in professional learning for educators, school visits, a district resource teacher, instructional coaches and technology tools. This support, combined with the vision to create something better for students, is creating a culture of innovation.
Paris Independent is a district with caring and knowledgeable teachers and staff who desire to make a difference in every child’s life. Making positive changes to increase student achievement for the next 150 years is the goal.