Brandywine Community Schools ready for new school year

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2023

NILES — After a summer away, students returned to Brandywine Community Schools last week for the 2023-2024 school year.

Students at Merritt and Brandywine elementary schools celebrated with a half day start on Monday, Aug. 28, while Brandywine Middle/High School students jumped into the new year with a full day of classes.

“It was good to see the kids back in the buildings after a long summer,” said Brandywine Superintendent Travis Walker. “We had a good start to the year; less transportation hiccups to start the year compared to last year. We started the year fully staffed in our transportation department as well as certified staff. Things got off to a great start.”

After a busy first year of being the district’s superintendent, Walker is looking forward to year two.

“I think year two is a little bit harder just because in year one, you don’t know what you don’t know yet,” he said. I have a better idea of the work ahead of me. It’s a bigger workload but we have the right people in place to support me. We’re excited.”

Walker said the district’s goals for the school year will continue to center around its strategic plan, which includes four specific goal areas and 13 priority objectives the district will take under Walker’s leadership. The four goal areas are: Academics/Programs, Culture/Learning Environment, Communication/Engagement and Facilities.

“As a district, we’re focused on deciding what engagement strategies are the the best fit for our students and teachers,” Walker said. “There’s a big focus on interventions; we now have both academic and behavior interventionists K through 12… We put systems in place to help all kids be successful. We’re really focusing on students and meeting students where they’re at. That wil allow us in our core classes to provide extensions for students already excelling to help them expand their learning.”

According to Walker, the district’s HVAC project in the middle/high school is complete and every classroom K-12 now has air conditioning. He added that the district is considering a zero-mill increase bond proposal for the May 2024 election that would generate funds to be used for improvements to district facilities.

Walker added that the district hired approximately 15 new teachers this year.

“We hit the jackpot with our hires this summer,” Walker said. “One of my principals was saying how impressed he was with the work the new and veteran teachers are doing. He was impressed with the first week and what he was seeing in classrooms and is really excited about the energy in the building.”