For many prospective homeowners who are seeking a new residence one of the most important factors determining their decision to purchase a home in a particular area is the school district.
Doing your homework and searching the Internet is one way of reviewing a school’s curriculum, standardized test scores, and rankings. However, Jim Rose, the new principal of Running Brushy Middle School located in the Leander Independent School District (LISD), says that test scores and rankings are just one piece of the puzzle when researching a potential school district. Other factors that come into play include the school’s culture, the community in which it resides, and the staff. He suggests that prospective homeowners make an appointment and visit the school for a true hands-on experience.
Rose who oversees a student population of 1,250 and a teaching staff of 80, is a visionary who sees a bright future for Running Brushy. Through hard work and the potential he sees in his students, Rose is predicting an increase in his students’ standardized test scores over the next couple of years. “We need to score better, even more importantly we need to educate the public on what the scores really mean,” said Rose.
To accomplish the school’s goals, Rose is relying on his dedicated staff. “What sets Running Brushy apart from other schools are the passionate educators who are in our classrooms working with our kids on a daily basis,” he said. “We have an absolutely outstanding staff who love working with our fantastic community.”
In his first year at Running Brushy, he is looking most forward to seeing improvement take place and being a part of the growth and potential that drew him to his new location. Plans to implement improvement takes the form of several programs that taps into expanding student technology and problem solving skills.
As is the case with the school’s new Gateway Program or Project Lead the Way. The center of the pre-engineering program for 7th and 8th graders is empowerment, inspiration, problem solving, and robotics while using technology to solve real world challenges that achieve specific educational goals. The hands-on classroom experience allows students the opportunity to work together, listen to each other, and discover themselves. On a recent visit to Running Brushy, the Gateway classroom consisted of all female students who were each equipped with their own laptop computer—another district initiative.
With many districts nationwide transitioning to the digital classroom, LISD is no exception. The district has made a commitment to provide an electronic device to all students beginning in grade 6 continuing through grade 12. During the summer months students are able to keep their computer for a nominal prepay fee of $70. Accessible 24/7 Wi-Fi throughout the building allows teachers to assign homework, communicate, and grade assignments online strengthening both technological and communication skills. In addition, through the school’s Cougar Command Center program students with computer problems are able to receive help from their peers Monday through Friday.
According to Rose, leading his middle schoolers to academic success in high school is a top priority. To help achieve that goal the school offers pre Advance Placement (AP) courses in ELA, PACE Math and Pre-AP Social Studies. Courses offered for high school credit include Algebra 1, Spanish, AP Spanish, and Project Lead the Way.
The school’s Academic and Personal Success curricula challenges students in a variety of topics with programs such as “Heroes, Monsters, and Villains,” “Math in Games and Cryptology,” “Pop Culture,” “Math in Everyday Life,” “Food for Thought” and “Forensics.” In addition, Running Brushy provides strong athletic teams, fine arts programs, and over 20 student clubs and organizations. This year’s band is only one of seven in the country invited to perform in the Music for All Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis this November. In addition, Running Brush boasts an award winning theater program and is the only middle school in the district that performs a musical each year. This year’s musical “Grease” takes center stage later in the year.
Photo Credit: Running Brushy Middle School | facebook