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Symmes Valley schools striving for excellence

The Symmes Valley school district is pulling out all the stops for the new school year to ensure academic excellence.

The principals of both the high school and the elementary/junior high school said they are excited about all the new changes that have been implemented this year.

Darrell Humphreys, principal of Symmes Valley High School, said that the school has added some new programs this year.

“We’re adding a math lab for at-risk ninth and tenth graders,” he said, “to focus on kids that could have trouble with the OGT.”

Humphreys explained that there would be an intervention teacher to work with students in smaller groups in the new math lab.

“They would get a lot of individual attention,” he said.

He also said that the school has added a new honors trigonometry course.

“We’re making the effort to provide another advanced course,” Humphreys said, “to meet the needs of the higher end kids.”

Classes began on Friday, Aug. 20, which gave the teachers time to prepare. Humphreys said that the teachers were involved in some new training for two days before school started.

He said the teachers are doing Marzano training, which focuses on high-yield teaching strategies.

“They are using current research to refine what they are doing,” said Humphreys.

The high school’s main goal, according to Humphreys, is to maintain the school’s rating of excellent giving by the Ohio Department of Education last year.

“We will receive that designation again,” he said. “Our kids and our staff are working hard to meet those expectations.”

The Symmes Valley Elementary/Junior High School has a new addition to its staff this year.

The school has a new principal, Jeremy Newman. He was previously the assistant principal at Greenup Middle School in Kentucky.

Newman said the main focus for the school this year is to increase the students’ proficiency in reading and math.

“We’ve scheduled more time for reading and math,” he said.

The school had also implemented a new intervention program for tutoring as well as an enrichment program for the gifted students.

Newman also said that the school has added some new technology. The six mobile computer labs that the school already had will now be able to operate wirelessly.

The entire school is now equipped for wireless Internet access.

There will also be an opportunity for students to join academic clubs: Math Counts and Science Olympiads.

“For highly motivated students, it’s a fun, challenging activity,” said Newman.

Newman said he feels ready for the new school year.

“I think the teachers are prepared,” he said. “We had a great turnout at open house.”

He said that the school is focused on being the best it can be.

“We teach more than just academics,” said Newman. “We teach kids values and character and it’ll hopefully make them productive citizens later on in life.”