Williamson County Schools (WCS) Superintendent Mike Looney gave an overview of the state of Williamson County schools at the monthly Williamson, Inc. (county chamber) meeting Tuesday.
Before a crowd that included every principal from WCS, Looney shared both the successes the past year has brought, and what the next four years will look like for the school system. The three big items on the “bucket list” for the school system: Academics, Athletics and Art.
2015 saw the highest ACT score recorded in district history; a record number of students passed AP exams; 3rd through 8th grade students saw an increase of 28% on TCAP and $135,900 was accepted in scholarship money.
Joking Looney said, “As the father of four it makes me happy when scholarship money is used locally as it helps the economy and additional revenue streams.” More WCS students are participating in post secondary education due to new dual enrollment courses, which allow high school students to get college credit and the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, in which students can receive two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee.
Looney quipped, “If you haven’t heard, I’m going to be around a while.” The next four years, or length of his new $250,000 a year contract, Looney presented a plan of action for where he sees the district in 2019.
Over the next four years Looney shared the student population in WCS will grow to over 40,000 students; four new schools in addition to the three new ones in Nolensville will be built; by 2019 the budget will be $350,000 (currently the budget is $290,000).
During a question and answer session with Matt Largen, President of Williamson, Inc., Looney was asked questions about hiring, bus driver shortages, affordable housing for teachers in Williamson County.
“For 30,000 the view is pretty perfect, this is not true for all families,” Looney said as he spoke openly about children in WCS who are homeless. His challenge is “how do we change the outcome for them?”
Looney recognizes something that would have been vastly different had he accepted the position with Nashville Metro Schools, saying that students in WCS, for the most part, “come to school ready, prepared, rested and fed.”
In all, the state of the schools address was overwhelmingly positive. With WCS schools now in session, Looney is spending 1/3 of his day with the students engaging and challenging them to be all that they can be.
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