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Regional school superintendent discusses office priorities, child development

SANDWICH – Amanda Christensen, superintendent of the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education, described her duties and goals when addressing the Sandwich School District 430 Board of Education at its recent meeting.  

In addition to inspections of school buildings, her office submits state reports, keeps files of substitute teachers for the entire regional district and has a testing center Tuesdays for teacher’s assessments for job promotions.

She wants her office to go where the students are, not wait for the family to reach out when there’s already problems, such as truancy.  

A Family Success Liaison project offered by the DeKalb ROE provides resources to families in need, informing them where to find transportation, school supplies, food, clothes, medical referrals for evaluations and financial assistance. 

It is designed to promote the importance of education, break down barriers/open doors to opportunities, provide guidance/mentoring, set goals with students and/or family, promote active listening/compassion/patience, help families build a relationship with the school, advocate for families to communicate with and for the family, and show families it cares and that they matter.

Christensen is especially interested in promoting brain development in children from birth through age 3.  She noted that 80% of brain growth happens by age 3. She said young brains develop like little muscles, getting bigger and stronger the more the family interacts with the child.

She promotes the Boston Basics to “Maximize Love and Manage Stress” by having the family respond to the child with smiles, words and touch to help them develop a sense of security and control; “Talk, Sing and Point” with eye contact and a loving voice, while pointing to help them know what the family is talking about; “Count, Group and Compare’ about numbers, shapes and patterns during the family’s daily routine; “Explore Through Movement and Play” to encourage their curiosity; and “Read and Discuss Stories’ by making books a regular part of the family’s relationship with infants, toddlers and children, pointing at the pictures and speaking with excitement.

Action taken by the school board included hiring Dale Hamilton as transportation director.

The next regular Sandwich School Board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Resource Center at the Sandwich Middle School.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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