I want to start off by saying thank you to the Liberty community for supporting our schools, our students and their families. The 2018-2019 school year was one full of change. We began the year with the reconfiguration of our school buildings. The restructuring allowed our district to better meet the changing academic, emotional and social needs of all of our students.
Our new elementary program, which is housed at W.S. Guy, serves students from preschool to sixth grade. Our junior high program, which is housed at Liberty High School, serves students in grades 7 and 8. Our high school program, which remained at Liberty High School, continues to serve students in grades 9-12. We also launched the Learning Center.
Through the daily use Chromebooks, we were able to integrate technology and STEM into the curriculum at the PK-6 school. We also implemented inquiry based teaching and learning in an effort to enhance our students’ creativity. Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, our junior high students were able to explore new electives including robotics and STEM. We also launched an inquiry based learning period at the junior high school to foster a collaborative learning environment for our students. This past year, we expanded our career programs to include an investigation program that provides real job and work experience to our 7-12 students. At the high school, we reestablished our honors program, expanded our co-curricular and extracurricular offerings and added girls soccer. We will be adding boys soccer very soon.
Across the district, we made it a priority to enhance our visual and performing arts programs by infusing arts into the K-12 curriculum. This year, we partnered with Students Motivated by the Arts (SMARTS) to expose our students to the visual arts, music, dance, theater and creative writing. Through this partnership, our art and music teachers are able to collaborate with SMARTS to enhance their our classes. At the high school, we added jazz band, contemporary dance and photography in 2018-2019. Districtwide, we also made a big push to integrate technology into the classroom. All students in grades 7-12 have their own Chromebook to complete classroom assignments and homework. All of our students in grades K-6 have access to Chromebooks throughout the school day.
This year, we experienced an increase in enrollment, as well as a stabilization. Our student enrollment from kindergarten through 12th grade increased by 246 students from the 2017-2018 school year to the 2018-2019 school year.
Prior to the start of the 2018-2019 school year, we entered into an agreement with the Liberty Township Police Department to hire a full time school resource officer for the district. We will continue to make security enhancements throughout the 2019-2020 school year with the addition of a second full time school resource officer and a police dog.
We fostered great relationships with the Jewish Community Center, Youngstown State University and the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley through their work with our students during their children's programming. This year, the United Way also partnered with Classic Optical, Essilor Vision Foundation and Sight for All United to provide free eye glasses to over 50 of our students. We are very appreciative of all of the hard work of our partners that benefit our students.
Through the Guaranteed Clean Energy Project, we have started to reduce the district’s carbon footprint while saving money on our energy costs. Those savings are allowing us to make permanent improvements throughout the campus. We have upgraded our lighting to LED bulbs in the district’s classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, auditorium and stadium. The energy reduction plan also includes the installation of a multi-sport turf field at Liberty High School’s stadium, which will require less water, less fertilizer and less manpower than a traditional grass field.
There is a lot of great energy and momentum in the district that’s allowing our kids to flourish both in and out of school. Along with the Liberty Board of Education, I pledge to you that we will continue to work hard on behalf of all of our students to ensure that they are Future Ready! I look forward to a great 2019-2020 school year.
Superintendent Liberty Local Schools