As summer begins to wrap up, teachers and principals excitedly start preparing for a new school year, while eagerly awaiting to see their students’ smiling faces again.
But for Acton Middle School Principal Jennifer Pennington, the excitement she’s feeling for this academic year is almost palpable as she prepares for the launch of two brand new classes this fall: principles of agriculture and project success.
“We brought on some new programs, and it's a major change because we’re bringing (principles of agriculture) from the high school and it‘s one that the kids are excited about,” Pennington explained. “It's ag — what kid doesn't like ag? We have a lot of kids signed up for that.”
The second class, project success, is a mandatory requirement for all seventh graders to help prepare them for their future careers after high school graduation.
"It gets them thinking about ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ and I mean, that's the question I asked myself all the time,” Pennington explained. “It helps kids start thinking about, ‘If I like rocks, what can I do with that? I could look at going to the moon, I could look at archaeology. And if I want to do those things, where do I go study that? And if I start studying that, what kind of jobs can I do along with that, and where could that take me?’ I think this opens so many doors for students, and that's really what I'm excited about for this upcoming year."
Pennington explained that the district has been discussing the idea of potentially implementing more career and technical education courses at AMS.
“It’s a great thing; it really is,” she said. “It’s good for all kids, so to see everybody being able to benefit from that is huge.”
Another program Pennington is excited about is Capturing Kids’ Hearts, a program that equips professionals in K-12 education to implement transformational processes focused on social-emotional wellbeing, relationship-driven campus culture, and student connectedness.
"Capturing Kids’ Hearts aligns with what we are wanting to do, along with our Granbury Strategic Plan, you know, bringing in and working on that Granbury culture, working on it right at the ground level, and working with our students, our teachers, our parents, and our community on bringing positivity,” she said.
Although the new classes and programs are the biggest changes on campus this fall, they aren’t the only ones.
Pennington said enrollment at the end of last year was as high as 980, and this year, a total of 25 new staff members are joining the district.
“I'm excited about our new staff members,” Pennington added. “We have some amazing staff members staying, but just seeing the energy from our new staff members, I know it's going to be a great year.”