DAVID – The David School was founded in Floyd County in 1974. As a nonprofit educational facility serving grades 9 through 12, the school relies on the kindness of the community, grants and benefactors to help maintain the institution. Tuition and school lunch are free for all students. Over the years, countless individuals have come from all over the world to volunteer time and money to ensure students can acquire the education many people take for granted. The school recently announced it had been awarded a $30,000 grant. It was not at liberty to disclose the name of the benefactor due to specific award restrictions on disclosures to the media. However, the school was happy to say the award will be paid in two installments of $15,000. The first $15,000 was awarded in May and the second installment will be awarded in May 2017.
The mission of the David School is to provide a comprehensive educational program specifically for Appalachian high school dropouts and at-risk students with limited financial resources and the potential to succeed in a non-traditional setting.
A new principal will take office in the upcoming schoolyear. Former principal Rebecca Bodish left the school to return to her home state of Iowa.
Kat Johns came to the school last year and taught Art, English, Math, Intervention strategies, service learning. She also performed various administrative duties.
“Kat came along at the perfect time,” Bodish said. “We both went to an event and met, where we hit it off. We had an influx of new students and needed an additional teacher. I called Kat and she came over, toured the school and came on board. We were extremely lucky to find her.”
The school focus is on individualized learning and gives the students the opportunity to experience success in areas other than core subjects and traditional classroom setting. Service Learning allows the students to experience various environments and learn real world skills and confidence. The students have a chance to see that their opinions and ideas are of value.
The enrollment for the upcoming schoolyear is expected to be around 54 to 60 students.
One program the school is proudest of is the Inch by Inch Garden Program. The program started when the school received a large grant from Connecticut-based Bingham Foundation. All subjects implement the garden as a learning tool that provides inter-disciplinary support for all core subjects.
The Inch by Inch project has three major goals: 1. To provide a hands-on way outside the classroom to support each of the academic subject areas. 2. To grow and harvest fruits and vegetables that can be used in school lunches. They will grow fruits and vegetables they like, as well as foods that will encourage them to try foods outside their comfort Zone. 3. To grow, harvest and process the produce necessary to produce two different hot sauce recipes. One milder hot sauce (Southeast Heat). One hot, hot sauce (Falcon’s Inferno) in honor of the school mascot.
Students work in every aspect of the garden including tending the ground, planting, growing, harvesting and selling. The students not only learn about important agriculture skills, but also entrepreneurial skills. Students take the food they grow to the Floyd County Farmer’s Market.
Last year, students in the Engineering class designed and built a gravity feed irrigation system for the garden.
The school added a chicken coop this summer next to the garden. Students will feed and tend to the chickens and gather eggs that will be used for school breakfast and lunches.
The David School is a small school governed by a board of directors in addition to a school principal. Many teachers and volunteers that work at the school often come for a short period of time. The school provides a modest stipend to school employees in addition to offering faculty housing adjacent to campus.
The David School is currently looking to hire for an English teacher and a Math teacher for the upcoming schoolyear and also a Garden Program Manager. A bachelor’s degree is not required. The school is open to applicants with real-world experience.
For more information about the David School, contact Kat Johns at (606) 886-8374.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.