The mission of Fairmount Public School states: “Fairmount Public School, in a partnership with families and the community, educates all individuals to be lifelong learners and responsible citizens in a global society.” As a smaller school district, Fairmount can fulfill this mission partly thanks to their ability to develop meaningful relationships.
“We are a very small school district. But this makes us unique because you’re able to develop relationships with the community, teachers, and students,” said Jay Townsend, K-12 Principal of Fairmount Public School. “I’ve always said that I have two families – my immediate family that includes my wife and two kids and my work family.”
Townsend has spent 11 of his 15 years as an educator in his current position with Fairmount Public School. Prior to this, he taught K-12 Physical Education and Grades 7-12 Business Education. His decision to become an educator began developing when he was in college, stemming from a desire to be a positive role model.
“When I was in college, I did a lot of coaching. Being around the student-athletes created a desire in me to be an educator and provide a positive influence for our youth,” said Townsend.
Upon his first few years as an educator, Townsend describes how he was inspired to pursue a leadership role.
“My first three years of education I was also an activities director. Being in that leadership role inspired me to become an educational leader,” said Townsend.
As an educational leader, Townsend, along with the Fairmount Public School team have been focusing on three main goals for the 2018-2019 school year: student apathy, stakeholder engagement, and data evaluation.
Regarding student apathy, Townsend says that the goal was prioritized after the staff completed a book study on the topic.
“We found that we have a lot of students not turning in assignments. We have developed a list to identify those missing assignments each day. Staff can utilize this list to help students get work turned in. We have also provided students with a two-hour block on Monday and Thursday evenings to work on assignments,” said Townsend.
Fairmount is also increasing their efforts to include parents and community members in communication regarding their schools.
“We have done a back to school night for several years. We do weekly newsletters and have started utilizing social media more to communicate with the public. We’re also in the beginning stages of our data evaluation goal but we would like to research resources and increase utilization of that data to improve our engagement as well as education,” said Townsend.
Looking forward to the next school year, Townsend says that Fairmount is still in the beginning stages of developing their continuous improvement goals. But looking back to his “Friday Focus” message to the community, there’s no doubt that Fairmount Public Schools will continue to utilize and build upon opportunities and Townsend will continue to be a positive role model.
“On my whiteboard in the office I have a one-word hashtag that I’m using for the school year to focus on – the hashtag is #opportunity. Each time I have an individual walk through my ‘door’ I approach each situation as an opportunity to have positive influence toward that person,” said Townsend.