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Students and teachers ask for more field trips

Students and teachers in Liberty County schools both want more field trips, but they are generally happy with the way the school system is run, according to recent system-led forums.

School system officials held separate forums with students and teachers in October to determine what was working well in the schools. Teachers chosen to participate were schools’ teachers of the year for the last two years and randomly chosen teachers. Students participating in the forum were chosen randomly.

The teachers forum groups focused on what is going well and the students forum focused on what they like about their school. Each forum also was asked for ideas for improvement. Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Kellie Zeigler said overall, teachers feel supported by their school and district as a whole and students feel supported by their teachers to meet academic and social emotional needs.

“Students felt connected to their teachers,” she said.

Students in a March town hall meeting pointed toward bullying as a problem. But the topic did not come up during the forums.

“Not one time was bullying mentioned during any of the student forums,” Zeigler said.

Results from the teachers’ forums showed there are resources available to close instructional gaps, technology to support instruction and training and support for staff, especially for new teachers.

The student forums revealed they believe they have positive learning environments and strong relationships with their teachers. Students also gave positive marks for the system’s extracurricular activities, clubs, events and after school sports.

“They talked a lot about that,” Zeigler said, adding students also asked for more sports options and more after-school clubs.

Students also said they have support from the teachers, and the teachers care about their learning. Teachers also are preparing students for relevant, real-world experiences, and students appreciated the opportunities to expand their learning at the College and Career Academy and through dual enrollment.

Students also called the libraries and the book choices “excellent.”

“And we have pride in our schools,” Zeigler said. “The students felt they had pride in and liked their schools.”

Teachers recommended the system spotlight staff members who grew up in the district and now work in it and also asked for paid internships for students to have workbased learning in the system. They also asked for more staff to help student enrollment.

Students also asked for a larger variety of food choices with their school lunches and for the system to highlight fine arts more in the school. Students also asked for more opportunities for input.

Both students and teachers asked for more field trips to extend learning, and board Chair Verdell Jones agreed, pointing to places just in Liberty County where students can learn more about history, such as Dorchester Academy.

“There are a lot of things in Liberty County our children need to be aware of,” she said. “It’s been brought up several times in the community and today. There is just a whole lot we can expose our children to.”

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