By MEGAN WILLIAMS
Daily News-Record 10/26/19
BRIDGEWATER — About 150 people attended a community forum at Turner Ashby High School on Friday, hosted by Rockingham County Public Schools, to discuss innovation and community relationships.
The goal of the forum was to share the new things going on in the school division and to deepen the connections and collaborations between community members.
Superintendent Oskar Scheikl opened the forum with a presentation on the values of the school division and how they are preparing students to be innovators and creators.
“We’re changing what education should be like,” he said.
Scheikl used the metaphor of riding a bike to highlight how RCPS is trying to educate students. Instead of learning the parts of the bike and their names and how to put it together, and then having to take a class on the physics of riding a bike and then traffic laws, riding a bike involves getting up and actually getting on a bike and figuring it out.
What it comes down to, Scheikl said, is finding the time for authentic learning and application. Content is important and scholarship is necessary, but without the knowhow to apply it, it is a disservice to students, he said.
But it’s not just instruction that is important to the success of students. RCPS tries to look at the whole student, and to address their emotional and metal needs as well. Scheikl discussed the school division’s student support services, which include restorative practices, trauma informed schools, bullying prevention, alternative education, tiered systems of support and mental and behavioral health support.
After Scheikl’s presentation, guests were treated to a locally- grown lunch catered by the Turner Ashby High School FFA and agriculture department. After lunch, attendees gathered in groups to further discuss plans at the division and school levels and ways to increase collaboration.
Attendees included representatives from local colleges and universities, county government, community agencies, non-profit agencies, faith-based organizations, business and industry, PTAs and PTOs and more.