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Parkway Admits Challenges as New School Year Begins

Parkway’s superintendent says the district will face a big challenge getting children from different backgrounds engaged this year.

As Superintendent Dr. Keith Marty begins his second year as head of the district, he said he is excited about the challenges and opportunities to come.  

“I’ve learned a lot in the first year,” Marty said. “There are so many good things happening at Parkway. People here are taking our mission really seriously. I think we have some real commitment to get kids more engaged.”

And is getting all children engaged is what Marty said will also be one of the district’s greatest challenge. He said an increase in students that come from households struggling financially and families who don’t speak English will present teachers a special challenge. 

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“We, as a district, are changing,” Marty said. “We are more diverse so we really have to understand more cultures and needs of children. That’s happening all over the country and that’s happening in Parkway more than it ever has before.”

Marty said approximately 15 percent of students in the districts will come from homes “that are in poverty.”

“Not all kids come to school excited to learn and prepared,” Marty said. “Teachers will need to recognize that and work hard to reach all kids. You first have to build relationships and trust and then really try to understand why it is that some students are not as engaged as others.”

Parkway School Board President Beth Feldman said she is very excited because this year all teachers will be working in professional learning communities, in which they will share and study the effect of the current curriculum and ways to improve it. 

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“The teachers are going to get together by content area and grade level and they are going to compare their standard assessments,” Feldman said. “Then they are going to see what they can do to improve student achievement.”

Then, there is always the economic challenges affecting Parkway and districts nationwide.

“I think there’s always going to be financial pressure; there is always less money, less money, less money,” Feldman said. “We really have to make some tough decisions and spend our money wisely so it can help kids the best way possible.”

In spite of the challenges, Feldman said, she is excited because she sees how many students are also excited.

“I think there is a build-up to school starting,” Feldman said. “They’ve all had 11 weeks off and is time to have some study time. They are eager to learn.”

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