By Tobin Navasio, Lockwood School Superintendent
The goal of this series of articles is to highlight some of the positive things that are happening here at Lockwood Schools as well as to make you, the community, aware of some of the challenges that we face in working to provide your child with the best education possible. In future editions I will touch base on some programs, ideology, and resources that we have implemented here at Lockwood, but I want to start by focusing on what I believe is the key to success for any organization – schools, companies, sports teams, military units, or communities – the people involved. This is without question the strength of Lockwood Schools!
I count myself blessed on a regular basis to work with such a dedicated group of people and in a community where residents truly care about their neighbors. Lockwood is the unincorporated area with highest population in the state and therefore faces many unique challenges. However, I believe in many ways that these challenges lead to a greater sense of community. While we may not have a formal local government, there seems to always be a list of volunteers and leaders that are willing to step into that void and work to make our community a better place to live and raise children. The overwhelming passage of the pedestrian safety levy last spring is just one example of how we look out for each other as a community.
This sense of community carries over to our students and their families. Our students, with the support of their families, consistently rise up to any challenges that we put in front of them. Very rarely does a day go by that I do not hear a positive story about something that one of our students or alumni have accomplished. These endeavors encompass a wide gamut of areas: academics, athletics, the arts, business, community service, etc. Of course, very rarely can a child or young adult find success without support and guidance from the adults in their life.
Lockwood Schools, for a long time, has had a very good reputation both in the Billings area and in the state of Montana. People know that we have a very good school. I have had a front row seat over the past three years to see the quality of the work that our teachers, administrators and support staff put in on a daily basis. We have teachers that are knowledgeable and hard working, but even more importantly they truly care about the children that they work with every day and are willing to do everything in their power to help make their students successful. In my short time here, we have collectively gone from novices in many areas, most notably the Professional Learning Community (PLC) model and the relatively new Montana Core Standards, to a point where we are now mentioned in the same breath as the leading districts in the state in terms of implementation.
This is a testament to the quality of people Lockwood has been able to attract and hire over the years and to the skills, dedication and work ethic those employees bring with them to work each day. While our reputation is well deserved, I can assure you we will not rest on our laurels; we will consistently and tirelessly work to refine our craft and make Lockwood the best school it can possibly be.
In the same manner that students cannot be successful with out the significant adults in their life supporting them, our teachers and administrators cannot be successful without the support and efforts from our support staff. We count on these people to drive our buses, meet and greet our visitors, balance our books, clean our rooms, cook our meals, and take care of all the little details that allow our teachers to focus on academics and help make our campus a warm and inviting place for our students.
Finally, any discussion of education in Lockwood must highlight the dedication of our Board of Trustees. The Montana School Board’s Association just recently recognized the Lockwood School Board for earning a Golden Gavel award during the 2013-14 school year. This award is presented to any school board in the state where each and every member of
the board earns certification from their organization through trustee training. While earning one Golden Gavel is an accomplishment for a school board, the remarkable thing about the achievement for Lockwood’s Board is that this is the 25th consecutive year that our trustees have been so honored. This is a streak that is completely unrivaled by any other district in the state of Montana. MTSBA’s Director of Governmental Relations called the achievement “extraordinarily significant”. This dedication to continuous improvement and lifelong learning sets an example for all of the employees in the district and the students in our classroom. Our trustees lead by example and set the tone for the rest of our organization.
There are a great many factors that are necessary to make a great school, but the one that absolutely must be in place is great people. Fortunately the community and students of Lockwood have this resource in abundance and it is the foundation on which we will continue to build a great schoo