WASD super speaks about giving students options

About three weeks into his first school year as superintendent of the Williamsport Area School District, Dr. Don Adams spoke about programs and changes in the landscape of the district at Monday’s Rotary Club meeting.

Adams, who was named superintendent in June and took the position in July, spoke about how the district builds its curriculum and programs around the idea of making students “contributors back to the community.”

When speaking about extracurricular activities, Adams said it’s important for students to be involved in something other than academics in the district. He compared it to citizens in the Rotary Club, saying that “every student should be connected to something.”

Adams reported that not only do students then have a stronger connection to the district, but being involved in a club, sport or the fine arts increases their academic success. He said those students usually have better grades and school attendance during the season.

Adams also spoke about not wanting to give students a “narrow education.” He said the fine arts are important to the school, as well as giving students options with its career and technical education program.

He said that some districts around the country and state only educate with the goal of sending them to college, and while it is the right path for some, it isn’t for all. Adams said there will be “good” jobs that will be available in the coming years that will not require a four-year degree.

“They may require some extra training but a lot of these jobs – good ones – will not require a four-year degree,” he said.

And although the district recently changed its grade configuration, Adams noted that academics at each grade level will work together with others, not just for that one year.

“We look at programs that flow (kindergarten through 12th grade),” he said.

And while the new middle school is open, work continues at the district’s high school. Adams said about 15 months of work is left, which includes replacing the roof, updating cafeterias and moving the school’s offices.

“All of the main services that parents would typically need are right in the front of the building,” Adams said of the move of administration space.

Although not everything could be included in the renovation work, Adams said the district looked at what best met the different needs of students.

“It took a lot of cooperation, a lot of people working together,” Adams said on the collaborative effort of the construction project.