Shawn Kimble has been the Director of Schools in Lauderdale County for 6 years.
Like many other districts, Lauderdale County is offering its students a growing number of Early Post-Secondary Opportunities. Students in the system are piling up dozens of hours of college credits before they graduate high school. Efforts are being made to expand CTE offerings while increasing the number of opportunities for industry credentials and work-ethic certification. New partnerships are being made with the local TCAT to expand dual enrollment offerings to students which have not previously been offered in our county. In addition, middle and high schools in the county have become more engaged in college/career readiness while focusing on initiatives to teach the soft skills needed for success.
Lauderdale County Schools is working strategically to implement quality, aligned curricula which uses complex materials to support instruction. The system has focused on flexible scheduling in early grades that provides extended learning time for whole group, small group, and intervention. Students in K-2 receive up to a total of 240 minutes of reading and intervention time per day. Significant progress has been measured in Pre-K where students also spend up to 2 hours per day with embedded literacy activities.
One of the most exciting initiatives currently underway in Lauderdale County Schools is the mental health and wellness initiative called AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education). Lauderdale County AWARE partners with parents, youth, and community stakeholders, to design and implement a multi-tiered, interconnected framework that guides delivery of universal prevention, targeted intervention, and intensive school-based mental health services. A plan has been developed to implement the following prevention and intervention strategies:
Implement evidence-based violence prevention programs
Develop mental health awareness and outreach campaigns as well as youth and family engagement strategies
Establish early identification and referral processes to connect youth to appropriate services including mental health services by a licensed provider
Place mental health clinicians in schools to deliver effective, targeted and intensive interventions and referrals
Refine school discipline policies to reduce loss of instructional time and removals from school due to suspension and expulsion
Place licensed social workers in schools to address student need as a prevention for crisis intervention
“In the role of superintendent, you can sometimes lose sight of the forest for the trees. Every time I step into a school and engage with students, teachers, and administrators, it re-energizes me and reminds me why I come back each day. I am blessed to work in a great school system and alongside passionate employees who put children first.
I have so many fond memories from my time as superintendent, but the one thing that I enjoy most is signing each graduate's diploma and being on stage to congratulate them. Graduation is such a special time for our students and their families and I am blessed and honored to share just a small piece of it with each of them.”