Vigo County School Corporation State of the Schools: “Team Vigo”

Were you able to attend the Vigo County School Corporation’s State of the Schools community meeting led by superintendent Rob Haworth? There’s never a perfect time for a community meeting, but I know this particular meeting happened to be at a time when a lot of parents were putting their kids to bed. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a recap!

I’ve been hearing lots of positive community feedback regarding Dr. Haworth. He seems enthusiastic, genuine, and likable. And guess what? I think he likes us too! Dr. Haworth opened with words of praise and thanks for our community. We have welcomed him, wrapped our arms around his family, made Vigo County feel like home. (We can and should feel proud of this!)

To illustrate, Dr. Haworth quoted these lyrics and explained that he wants our students to grow up sharing his sentiment that we’re lucky in this town:

Here everybody has a neighbor
Everybody has a friend
Everybody has a reason to begin again

My father said “Son, we’re lucky in this town,
It’s a beautiful place to be born.
It just wraps its arms around you,
Nobody crowds you and nobody goes it alone”

“Your flag flyin’ over the courthouse
Means certain things are set in stone.
Who we are, what we’ll do and what we won’t”

One of the main purposes of this particular meeting was to share what the school corporation learned from the 2018 Community Conversations.

Here’s a short summation from my notes:

Curriculum and Instruction

  • There are 14,500 students enrolled in Vigo County schools.
  • Last year, there were 470 pre-k students in 14 sites. 13 of the 14th pre-k programs have reached level 3 on the Paths to Quality scale. 
  • According to the Urban School Association statistics, our district is performing very high on IREAD 3 and ISTEP.

Recent Improvements to Student Services

  • Increased school nurses from 5 to 10.
  • Increased guidance counselors from 38 to 43 (two years ago the jump was 30 to 38)
  • Increased behavioral interventionist from 3 to 16.
  • Increased student protection officers from 30 to 38.

Extracurriculars and Co-Curricular

Resource Management

  • We had a cash balance of 29,700,000.  It is now 22,800,000. Where did that money go? To the improvement of student services (additional nurses, guidance counselors, etc–see note above).
  • Spending more than we’re saving
  • Want meaningful wage for staff and teachers

Strategic Planning

The corporation is working on a path forward. They’ve prepared and assessed. The next step is co-designing and engaging stakeholders within the community.

With this, Dr. Haworth presented a summary of the findings of the 2018 Community Conversations in which the community was invited to meet with administrators and school officials to share feedback. I believe these summaries are best shared through pictures of the slides containing Dr. Haworth’s exact words.

What are the positive aspects of the Vigo County School Corporation? 

(The community identified that our #1 strength is that we have great teachers. No surprise there!)

Dr. Haworth wants to protect and stay committed to these positives.

In what ways can Vigo County School Corporation improve?

How do we level the playing field and support all students? 

How does the corporation improve connection and communication? 

What are your biggest concerns with the upcoming school building projects? 

  • VCSC doesn’t have an answer to building needs
  • Working on 8-year facilities plan

Anything else need to be considered?

1) Teachers not paid enough
2) Communication
3) Life skills
4) Offer more trade classes

Dr. Haworth also mentioned that he surveyed the staff (and the results included a heavy emphasis on the need to upgrade our technology) and round table discussions with faith-based communities, non-profits, and businesses (coming soon). These groups identified  that the following problems greatly impact our students:

  • Break down of family
  • Mental health
  • Hopelessness
  • Community low expectations
  • Drugs

Those of you who were able to attend, what did you hear? This recap is from my perspective. What details were important to you?

More details and notes from the Community Conversation meetings should be available on the Vigo County School Corporation website over the course of the next few days. You can also watch a one-hour livestream of the meeting on facebook.

Dr. Haworth believes that the key (the “special sauce”) to making our corporation even more amazing is working together as Team Vigo. Team Vigo brings together teachers, staff, universities, industry, parents, non-profits, businesses, faith-based communities to co-design a future that wraps our arms around our most precious gifts, our children.

In 2031, this year’s kindergarten class will graduate. Will they say this is a beautiful place to call home?