Published first on the Progress News, October 26, 2020

We’re wrapping up our focus on the A-C Valley School District by looking at collaboration, and the potential it holds for our community.  Collaboration is an integral part of the concept of redevelopment because, no matter how skilled, no one person or entity can do everything themselves.  Perhaps even more importantly, though, we build off of each other’s strengths when we work together, merging our different viewpoints, experiences, and talents to creatively meet a shared challenge.

For Superintendent McDeavitt, collaboration is a way of life at A-C Valley, and is central to the school’s goal of providing an outstanding educational experience that meets the needs of each student.  Teamwork is, of course, essential to running a school at all; the board, administrators, faculty, and staff work together and with students and families to design, implement, and manage educational programs.  Those programs themselves are often collaborative in nature, too, finding and using the connections between subjects to strengthen the students’ ability to understand and learn.

Collaboration, like learning, does not only happen within the school walls, though, and Dr. McDeavitt is proud of the partnerships the district has developed to ensure that students are offered as many opportunities as possible to find and develop their skills and talents.  Many extracurricular programs, such as sports and band, are offered cooperatively with neighboring districts to allow for a richer experience.  A-C Valley is a member of the Clarion County Career Center, which offers hands-on, technical training to those students eager to join the workforce right after graduation.  Students are also able to earn college credit while still in high school, giving those with a thirst for higher education a head-start. 

Technology has been a valuable aid to collaboration, especially over the last several months as computers have played a crucial role in keeping students and teachers connected and providing parents with support.  Dr. McDeavitt noted that none of us know what the future will hold, but he believes that the integration of technology into the educational landscape will continue to evolve.  “Kids are going to have to utilize [technology] in some fashion, at some point in their life,” he pointed out.

Whatever their eventual goals, Dr. McDeavitt stressed the need to engage with students and help them to become active participants in their own education.  We talked about motivation and learning styles, and how studies have shown that we retain only a fraction of what we hear, but most of what we physically do.  For that reason, Dr. McDeavitt would like to see less emphasis put on standardized testing.  He looks forward to a time when teachers are able to spend less time lecturing and “teaching the test” and more time actively engaging with students and helping them grow into well-rounded individuals who are confident in themselves and their community.For more information on A-C Valley School District, check out  I would like to extend my deepest thanks to Dr. McDeavitt for sharing his time and perspective with all of us, and I’ll see you next week!