Dear Big Walnut Community:
Welcome to the 2021-22 school year! We look forward to welcoming our students back to a relatively normal school year compared to last year, but we all have learned how quickly things can change. If we receive more information and potentially additional requirements, we will continue to keep you updated. Please check our main page for updates and if you are a parent, please check Schoology frequently.
At Big Walnut, we continue working hard to “inspire and guide each student to his or her maximum potential” every day. As superintendent, my focus is to collaboratively set a vision for the district to meet that mission for our students and to allocate resources accordingly. I guide our administrative team in providing staff members with the resources to help students receive the best education possible.
Unfortunately, our district continues to face fiscal challenges as we experience unprecedented student enrollment growth and minimal state funding compared to the majority of districts in Ohio, because we are a "wealthy" district according to the State. I am extremely grateful to our community for the support we receive every day, including the renewal of our Substitute Replacement Levy (for operations) in spring of 2020. We have not asked for new operating money for 11 years, despite growing over 35% during that time period. We have worked hard to avoid additional levy requests, but we have gotten to the point where doing so is creating large class sizes, minimal electives (including those required for graduation), and other limited opportunities for students (especially in the areas of mental health and behavioral services, nursing, and counseling). Our Board of Education has been discussing the need for additional funds for quite a while, but you can view our summer 2021 Board meetings, or read this article by President Brad Schneider to learn more.
I am also appreciative of the support shown from our community in November 2017 by passing a bond to build a new high school and a new elementary school, as well as funds to improve the entrances at our five older buildings. Our new elementary, Prairie Run Elementary, opened last year, while our new high school is scheduled to open this school year, in January of 2022. Please visit our Construction Projects page for more information on these projects.
Since 2015, our staff has focused on the Big Walnut Academic Vision (formerly known as the 2020 Vision). We must prepare our students for jobs that don't even exist yet by teaching them to think critically, collaborate, communicate, and create. Amazingly, at least 65% of our kindergarten students are anticipated to work in jobs that HAVE YET TO BE CREATED. Clearly, just teaching these students to memorize facts will not prepare them for life after school, which is why shifting our classrooms to meet our Big Walnut Academic Vision is so important.
Our vision focuses on doing the following at high levels:
Personalizing Instruction: Teacher is constantly aware of individual student abilities, interests, and/or learning styles and uses that information to make instructional decisions
Engaging Students: Students are immersed in the classroom atmosphere-- lessons/activities are meaningful, relevant, and add immediate value to their learning
Growing Minds: Teacher collects student data and uses it to drive instruction and make class decisions in order to promote student growth
This year, we are excited to share our Big Walnut Eagle Profile as the next step in implementing our vision. The profile is comprised of five skills needed to be successful in today's world, and provides a target for our teachers as they Personalize, Engage, and Grow our students. These skills were selected by our Academic Advisory Council, which includes community members, parents, teachers, and school administrators. The group looked at multiple research studies and articles that detailed what skills are most valuable in today's workplace. After much discussion and narrowing down of competencies, a survey was sent out to the community for feedback, and the profile was finalized. We will be working with our staff during this school year on teaching and assessing these traits that our community and employers value.
Please visit our Academic Achievement page for more detailed information about the Big Walnut Academic Vision and watch for future information on the Big Walnut Eagle Profile!
If you are new to the district, welcome! Please visit our Student Enrollment Center for information on enrollment or contact any of our school offices to schedule a tour. Big Walnut is truly a special place with a small-town community feel and top-notch opportunities for students.
Please contact us if you have questions or need assistance.
Angie Hamberg joined the Big Walnut Local Schools in 2009, when she was hired as the middle school principal. She also served as the district’s Director of Academic Achievement and assistant superintendent before becoming the superintendent in June of 2015.
Angie has a Bachelor of Science degree from Ashland University and a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Ashland University. She completed her superintendent coursework at The Ohio State University. Besides her experience in Big Walnut, she has taught high school English and has been a middle school principal and a high school assistant principal/athletic director.
Angie and her family live in the District.