Basehor-Linwood superintendent touts district achievements at chamber meeting
David Howard admitted up front to Basehor Chamber of Commerce members that he was about to “brag a little bit” about the achievements of Basehor-Linwood schools in the past year.
“It's great to be a Bobcat in our community,” Howard said, and chamber members nodded and agreed.
The Basehor-Linwood superintendent spoke Thursday at the chamber's monthly meeting at Community National Bank in Basehor.
Howard backed up his claims with data, noting Basehor-Linwood High School's marked improvement on ACT scores and students' performance on state assessments, which allowed the district to be one of few in the area to meet the federal government's Adequate Yearly Progress standard for the 2010-2011 school year.
It was appropriate to mention such achievements to the Chamber of Commerce, Howard said, because a high-performing school district can be a key component of economic development. Good schools can be a big factor in where families decide to live, he said.
“I really think that those people that move or are transient really, now more than ever, look at school districts when they move,” Howard said, “because they want to find out, especially if they have young children, a little bit about the schools.”
Other accomplishments that Howard noted included a sweep of the top two places in the Leavenworth County Spelling Bee by Basehor-Linwood Middle School students, state championships in two track and field events for BLHS and a third-place state finish in girls' basketball.
He also ran down some improvements visible and audible to spectators at BLHS football games this year: a renovated concession stand and a new sound system.
Labor on the concession stand was donated by the BLHS Booster Club, he said, and the work will allow for speedier service. And the new sound system, using speakers mounted on the scoreboard, follows years of complaints from spectators who said they could hardly hear anything. Now, Howard said, the situation is quite the opposite.
“I may have received a couple of phone calls about it being too good,” Howard said, drawing laughter from the chamber members.
Howard also touched on the district's use of changing technology, including its use of a Facebook page to keep parents and patrons informed.
Though some school administrators once practically considered “Facebook” a dirty word because of conflicts and other problems that spilled into school from the social-networking site, Howard said the district's page had demonstrated the site's positive potential.
“It's been the greatest way to communicate,” Howard said. “There are so many people using Facebook now. It's just really exploded.”