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story.lead_photo.caption Sierra Bush/Siloam Sunday Siloam Springs School District Superintendent Jody Wiggins introduces new staff in the district during a back to school breakfast, hosted by the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday.

Teachers, bus drivers, maintenance workers, school resource officers and many others kicked off the start of their school year Wednesday during a back to school breakfast hosted by the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Jody Wiggins, Siloam Springs School District superintendent, introduced the new almost 65 personnel joining the district this year in his first address as superintendent since transitioning from assistant superintendent on July 1.

"I'm excited to get the school year started," Wiggins said. "It's been a summer of change and I'm excited for the kids to come back and get rolling."

Academically, Wiggins said the district will be focusing on three areas this year. The first is further developing a learning community process, where teachers will be working in units to provide a better learning environment. The second is a statewide reading initiative that will change the way children learn to read.

"We have to get our reading scores up," Wiggins said.

While the emphasis will be on kindergarten through fourth grade, Wiggins said all grades will receive the benefits of the reading initiative.

Finally, Wiggins said the district plans to find ways all students are effectively learning the material, whether it be through standard classroom instruction or with "tweaks."

Keynote speaker Benji Mahan, associate project manager for Randstad Technologies, spoke about a few of the books he was able to read this summer, one of them "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek. Mahan took from Sinek and encouraged teachers to "find their why," this school year, whether it be the love for their work or the passion they have for teaching the next generation of future upstanding men and women.

Before breaking for development, 10 teachers in two teams of five participated in a Family Feud style game. The winning team was awarded a $100 check for their respective schools. Teachers continued the fun with giveaways from several area sponsors; Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce members ran prizes to winners.

Chamber President Wayne Mays said the event is a way to highlight Chamber values and support those who are making an impact in the community.

"Quality education is one of our top priorities because it impacts everything from work force and availability of youngsters to go into the work force to quality of life, which is what everyone gets by having a higher level of education," Mays said. "For years, we've supported the school district in every way we can."

General News on 08/11/2019

Print Headline: Teachers attend back to school breakfast

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