David Faltys showed the audience a photo of a Carroll ISD classroom that is unlike most others in the district.
In the photo, colored couches and a bean bag chair surrounded a coffee table with a quad-rotor helicopter resting on it. Around the furniture were tables with chairs and computers; there was no row of desks.
This classroom houses the district’s Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) program. Faltys used the room to illustrate how classrooms are evolving during his talk April 24 about the state of education at a luncheon hosted by the Southlake Chamber of Commerce.
Carroll senior Justin Mitchell joined the STEM program in its inaugural year as a way to get a head start before going to at Texas Tech University in Lubbock next year to study mechanical engineering.
“It is the best choice I’ve ever made in high school,” he said.
In this past year, the 120 students in the program have created dragsters using design software and an in-classroom 3D printer, programmed LEGO robots and studied the benefits of solar energy.
Faltys then showed a video highlighting the growing number of students in countries like China and India and said schools in the United States have to compete with larger educational forces around the world.
He then teased the audience and asked, “how are we prepping our kids to compete in that world?”
Faltys then played a video showing an elementary student doing an activity on a high-tech projection screen. Her her peers, sitting cross-legged, were intently listening and participating in the lesson.
“Our board and community invested in the technology,” Faltys said. “The children are involved and our kids are really learning from that.”
Faltys spoke about the state of academic and athletic success, staff quality, school safety, finances and communication all of which are in good shape.
“It feels like one of the best years we’ve had academically,” he said.
Faltys also spoke on the district’s upcoming strategic planning that will include outside community members.
The developing plan will shape the district’s future goals. Parents, community members and even businesses will play a part in its creation.
Chamber President Mark Guilbert says the Chamber normally has an annual luncheon with the district’s leadership.
He said the school district and the community it attracts, “provide wonderful business opportunities for all of us.”