Welcome to Atticus our new fourlegged columnist for YOUR Williamson. Atticus will be visiting with important people and interviewing local celebrities all while attending events and sticking his nose to the ground to find out all the fun news from the street! In honor of all the kids going back to school this week in Williamson County, Atticus had a chance to sit down with Superintendent Mike Looney to get the inside scoop on the upcoming school year!
Hello, Williamson County! My name is Atticus Maximillian Ausbrooks. I’m a new columnist for Your Williamson. I am a 5 year old Zuchon, a cross between Bichon Frisé and Shih Tzu. I help my Mama, Dana, at her office. She is a lawyer. I let her think she is in charge, but she would be lost without me. I help her with all the ruff cases, I am quiet but fierce. I can usually be found sleeping on my bed when I am not acting as the office watch dog. All my work at the office is done pro-bone-o – what a bargain!
In my free time, I love car rides, eating peanut butter from a spoon, music by R.E.M. and Taylor Swift, strutting around the block, taking naps, rolling around on plush carpet, and getting belly rubs. Before my Mama adopted me, I lived at Williamson County Animal Center for a little while. After Mama brought me home, she bought me a new dog bed to keep at the law office. I love my bed so much I want all the doggies at WCAC to be able to sleep on new dog beds while they are waiting to meet their human. So I worked hard the month of July and won dog beds for WCAC. After seeing how hard I worked in July for WCAC, some of Mama’s friends donated dog beds too. Mama says the people in Williamson County are the best, and I agree. I sure do love the people I meet in Williamson County!
Mama likes to tell me how important it is to get an education. To prove her point, she enrolled me in obedience classes a few months after she adopted me. According to Mama, I graduated at the top of my class. She told me I could take more classes since I am so smart and a good listener. This month I started working on my Master’s Degree in obedience at Project Reward in Thompson’s Station. I love going once a week and working with the trainer and director of Project Reward, Charlotte Blake. She is fantastic, and Mama says I am the best behaved dog after spending an hour a week with Miss Charlotte.
While we were driving to my obedience class, Mama told me the human puppies will be going back to school this week. I didn’t know the human puppies had to take obedience training too, and I had lots of questions. Mama couldn’t answer all of my questions, but she knew someone who could. We took a ride to the central office for Williamson County Schools, and I met with Dr. Mike Looney. He let me ask him all kinds of questions about the human puppies and Williamson County Schools. He must have at least a Master’s Degree in obedience because that man is smart!
BACK TO SCHOOL Q AND A WITH ATTICUS AND DR. LOONEY
Dr. Looney, what can I tell the human puppies and their Mamas and Daddies about the upcoming school year?
Atticus, I believe we are going to have a great year in Williamson County Schools. We are expecting to serve about 1200 new students this school year, so we continue to grow at a fast pace. I am so proud to work in Williamson County Schools where we have students who are ready to learn, engaged parents, a supportive community and the most compassionate, talented teachers and support staff in any school district in any place!
Dr. Looney, you know my Grandmother, Linda Ausbrooks, was a teacher of the human puppies. She always says a teacher’s job never ends. Is that true?
That’s a true statement, and our teachers have been working over the summer to learn new skills to share with boys and girls when they return to school on August 7. Atticus, did you know that in the nine weeks during summer more than 2,000 teachers have participated in over 250 different courses and documented over 25,000 hours of Professional Development in our district? In addition, 34 high school teachers attended a full week of AP Summer Institute training for the Advanced Placement courses they teach, and 200 WCS teachers attended two days of training conducted by the state Department of Education. At the end of July, about 400 new hires attended two days of New Teacher Induction. I know that boys and girls will come to school to find caring teachers who will challenge them to do their very best this year.
Dr. Looney, you sure do like to talk to the human puppies and their Mamas and Daddies. Why is that?
Atticus, communication is important to the success of our school district. I enjoy talking about our students and schools and also learning from others how to make our schools even better. I hope that you will tell your human friends of all ages that we want them to be informed about their school district. They should sign up to read our email newsletter InFocus. Just go to http://www.wcs.edu/infocus/subscribe-to-infocus/. You can also follow us on Twitter-our handle is @wcsedu, and like us on Facebook. I hope they follow me on Twitter too. My handle is @WcsDirofSchools. Our website is an excellent source of information as well www.wcs.edu.
While I like to get around on all fours and ride in the car with my Mama, I know the human puppies like to ride the big, yellow bus, but some of my friends don’t know when it will pick them up for school. What can they do?
Atticus, tell your friends to go to our district website and visit the WebQuery http://edweb.wcs.edu/eduweb/webquery/ and they can find out when the bus will pick them up. Remind them to be at their bus stop five or 10 minutes early for the first week or so as bus drivers will be adjusting their routes. And, I should mention that we still have a need for more bus drivers to safely transport your human friends to and from school. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please have them apply online http://www.wcs.edu/careers/applying/. The school district will provide training, and it’s a great job with great benefits.
Dr. Looney, I have also seen many of my human puppies wearing BE NICE t-shirts and posing for pictures with BE NICE signs. My Mama even has a t-shirt, and she tells me to “be nice” all of the time. What is BE NICE?
Atticus, it’s simple. It is treating other people the way you want to be treated by being kind, respectful and generous. Here in Williamson County Schools, it’s just what we do! But let me give you a little history. In 2013-14, a group of Fairview High School students and staff began working on ways to create a culture of kindness in their school. Together, they came up with the slogan BE NICE and began printing t-shirts and signs with the mantra. As the message spread, photos of students, teachers, celebrities and professional athletes holding the BE NICE sign began to appear on social media. More importantly, teachers and students at Fairview High began to report a change in student behavior. During the 2014-15 school year, the district joined in. For the 2015-16 school year, all schools have at least one student and one staff BE NICE ambassador. They spent a day this summer learning some tips and skills to help them continue to spread the message in their schools. Be sure and read the August 28 edition of InFocus to see a special video about BE NICE, and help us celebrate during BE NICE month in September. Maybe you can even start a trend with BE NICE t-shirts for pups!
Dear Readers, please do me a favor and the next time you see Dr. Looney ask him if he has given my Mama BE NICE t-shirt for me. I love being a trend setter and know I would look handsome in it!
Wet kisses until next time,