By Lenny C. Lepola
Big Walnut Intermediate School Principal Ryan McLane said the goal in his building is for fifth and sixth grade students to learn — and have fun doing it.
If last school year’s Teach Like a Pirate Day is any indication of the intermediate school’s methods, learning is fun: students were running between classes so they wouldn’t be late.
Of course, McLane said, Teach Like a Pirate Day isn’t every day, but that sense of students being excited about learning is the atmosphere he encourages to inspire and guide them at the intermediate school.
“Learning and fun is an ‘and’ not an ‘or’ and we’re working very hard to create an atmosphere in which our students and staff look forward to coming to school each day,” McLane said.
One change ahead for students coming from elementary school fourth grade classes is fifth grade students will have two teachers for their core courses.
“For the most part, one teacher will teach math and science and the other will teach language arts and social studies,” McLane said. “This will lower the total number of students our teachers will see in a day, which will better allow them to get to know each student’s strengths and weaknesses.”
McLane said the intermediate school has added a new two-person team to the sixth grade level. That team will use technology to encourage students to create content for a global audience.
Several new teachers are coming on board, McLane said. Darin Prince, coming from Utica Junior High School, will teach sixth grade math and science; Megan Everitt, from Licking Heights, will teach sixth grade language arts and social studies; and Stacey Hamilton, from Licking Valley, will teach fifth grade math and science.
McLane said the biggest change at the intermediate school would be hours of operation to accommodate the district’s new two-tier busing schedule.
The intermediate school doors will open at 7:30 a.m.; the school day begins at 7:45 a.m., and ends at 2:25 p.m. The school office will be open from 7:15 a.m. to until 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.
McLane said there would be a Meet and Greet from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesday and a Curriculum Night at 6 p.m. Aug. 21.
“Our maintenance and custodial staffs did a great job getting our building ready for the new school year,” McLane added. “We opened two new classrooms that had been used by the central office, and we also converted a small office in the library into a video production studio, complete with a green screen.”