There's a lot new at Dayton High School. New paint, new parking lot, new teachers, new cheerleading coach, new math class and a new principal who is eager to get going.
Wayne Workman was hired in June, and only took a few weeks in July off before getting ready for the school year.
He got his first taste of the more frustrating, bureaucratic side of education on Friday when he received word a mixup by the state on his school's Adequate Yearly Progress scores lowered the ranking.
Workman said the Nevada Department of Education had miscalculated the scores, erroneously giving them a High Achieving rating earlier this month, rather than Adequate, their real rating.
"I'm still very proud," he said. "We are going to continue with the program we had last year."
That program included math workshops, an emphasis on writing that allowed for, a few weeks before the test, the students to do a writing project, offering their answers to questions on issues relating to teens.
"The main thing is our outstanding teaching staff," he said. "They adapt so well to anything that comes to them."
He said the high school has about 15-20 kids in English-as-a-second-language classes, and said they did very well on their work, as did the lower-income students.
"We had a mentoring program with them, where teachers checked on them once a week, to se if there were any problems with their work or issues at home."
He does have some new tricks up his sleeve that weren't there in 2007.
The school has added a new math course to help students understand regular financing, like credit cards, mortgages, car loans and the like.
Workman said kids often get in trouble with credit cards because they don't understand the system.
"It's also for kids that need another math class but who aren't calculus material," he said.
He will also have students help others in the community.
"We will focus on service," he said. "I want others to see what great kids we have."
He and his family were happy in their previous home of Brigham City, Utah, where he taught health and sports medicine at Box Elder High School.
But he wanted to move up, so he pursued his master's degree at the University of Phoenix in 2006, and when the Dayton opportunity came up, the family decided it was a good move.
He was assistant principal for two years, and now will try to put his own mark on the school and its students.
"I don't think it's hit me yet," he said. "When the kids come in, that's when it really starts."
He can walk to work from his home River Village, where he lives with his wife, Jenni, and their four children, sons Oakley, 9, and Kobey, 7, and daughters Kirsten, 4, and Raquel, 2.
Jenni Workman, a former elementary school teacher, chose to stay home after the children began arriving, something that works well for the family, he said.
"We made a ton of sacrifices in our lives so we could do that," he said. "We don't have the fanciest house or the biggest cable package, but we're happy."
He said he knows his family is fortunate to have that choice in these tough economic times, but said others can do it too, and thinks it would benefit children.
"If we all made those sacrifices, we'd be a lot happier and a lot richer," he said.
- Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-7351.