BROKEN BOW—Broken Bow High School welcomed a number of very special guests into the school on Thursday, August 23. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green along with Diane Mendenhall, Associate to the Chancellor for External Engagement, Michelle Waite, Assistant to the Chancellor for Government and Military Relations, and Chancellor Green’s wife, Jane Green, were all in attendance at the school.
The group began the afternoon by asking questions to staff members and board members about the school, curriculums in place, education, etc. Elementary Principal, Kim Jonas, talked about the 1-1 program and being progressive.
“We are 1-1, K-12. We have Chrome Books for 2nd through Seniors, and then K-1 we have iPads. We don’t spend all day on that by any means because it is not a good education for a primary student, but we do have that capability,” Jonas said.
Other topics covered before taking a tour of a couple classes, was the decrease in enrollment in the education department at UNL, which has been seen not only in Nebraska, but nationally as well. This decrease in educators has also been felt in the high school. Turnover for teacher positions in Broken Bow is low, but the applications submitted for the open positions are in single digits.
Kim mentioned that years ago, one position would be numerous applications. Now, they might receive five or six applications, but only two of them have the actual qualifications. Chancellor Green made mentions that he speculates that the decrease in enrollment numbers could be financially driven. Pam Holcomb also noted that it could be the perception of teachers in this day in age compared to that of previous years.
“I think part of that too is what people think of teachers anymore. When we were younger there was a higher regard for the teaching profession and now that regard has dropped down to, you’re just a teacher,” Holcomb said.
Following the discussion Rusty Kluender, High School/Middle School Principal, took the group on a tour to different classrooms, specifically looking at the science classrooms. The two main stops were a senior physics class and a biology class. The main reason for these specific stops was to look at the new science standards imposed by the state.
The new standards are tailored more toward student involvement and hands on learning and looking to do away with the teacher being at the board and students taking notes. The group was able to look at the first day of using this style in the biology class and it is already beginning to have a positive effect.
Following the tour, KCNI/KBBN had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Chancellor Green. Chancellor Green discussed the purpose of touring different schools through the state, what they have seen, and what they have heard at each school. The full interview can be found below.
Chancellor Ronnie Green