March 17, 2017
Have you ever heard a band or orchestra when it is warming up? I was walking by the band room at Paducah Middle recently and got to hear the band in “warm-up mode”. It sounded pretty terrible! All the students were playing different melodies at different speeds and volumes, and it was pure noise. However, once Ms. Williams ended the warm up and began to rehearse the band, as all the musicians began to play their part at the speed in harmony, and the different parts converged to create a sound that sounded good. But for that to happen, all the musicians had to have a plan (music to work from) and everyone had to be committed to working together to create a harmonious sound
Over the past few months, I hope that many of you have heard about our plans to build a regional Innovation Hub at Paducah Tilghman High School. In February we applied for and received a $3.8 million dollar Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative grant to help with construction, and we also partnered to with WKCTC to secure a grant of $408,000 to buy equipment and machinery that will help with immediate upgrades at the Paducah Area Technical Center (PATC) and ultimately be placed in the Paducah Innovation Hub.
If you haven’t heard about the Innovation Hub, or if you’ve heard of it, but aren’t sure what it’s about, I’d like to show you how many different moving parts in our city and our school district are aligning to build something that will be a key asset for our students, our faculty, and our community.
In this blog post and the next I want to give you a little background so you’ll see how the Innovation Hub lines up with our district vision, mission, and values and the focus area of student learning.
Before we decided to take on a project like this we wanted to count the cost. We knew that building a new Innovation Hub would not only require a lot of time, money, and effort- we also knew that it would be a a game changer in the way we educate students. So we wanted to ensure that the concept of an Innovation Hub was in line with the district’s vision, mission, and values. Beyond that, we wanted to make sure that it was what’s best for our students, and what’s best for our community.
Our vision is to know each and every student by name and need. Our mission is to inspire all students to achieve excellence, explore opportunities, and realize their full potential with the goal of preparing every student to be college and career ready upon graduation. We achieve our vision and mission through relationships.
As we developed our strategic plan in 2015 and 2016, we settled on five areas of focus. I want to spend a little extra time here, because we haven’t talked about the focus areas of our plan as much, but they are the compass that guides the ship, so they are very important to our thinking about the Innovation Hub.
Our first focus area is Student Learning. Our first student learning goal is to have 100% of our students graduate from Tilghman college and career ready by 2020. We are well on our way to that thanks to the hard work that is going on in our elementaries, our middle school, and our high school. The Innovation Hub will help us achieve this goal because it will provide the environment and the resources needed to facilitate the connections between courses of study in industrial maintenance, art and design.
As it’s designed right now, our career pathways are stand alone courses of study, with little overlap between the pathways.