52163e17361d2.imageCome the first day of school, things will be a little different for Robert Bischoff. After spending the last three years working as a vice-principal at David E. Norman Elementary School and White Pine Middle School, the 2013-14 school year will mark Bischoff’s first as principal at McGill Elementary School.

“I’m so excited about being the principal up here,” Bischoff said. “When Bob (Dolezal) talked to me about that last spring, I told him I was very happy to come out and be the principal here.”

Bischoff’s first school year as McGill’s principal will see a host of changes from new carpet and paint in the offices to a host of new staff members. And everyone is ready to kick off a new school year and help students succeed in the classroom and to prepare them for the future, Bischoff said.

“There’s an energy running through the building, excitement among the staff and confidence that we can get the school where it needs to be academically,” Bischoff said.

McGill Elementary School will be looking to improve on its state rating. The school received one out of a possible five stars. To do that, Bischoff said a variety of factors will be coming into play.

One of the most important will be class size, especially among the early grades. Bischoff said small classes will allow teachers to work more closely with students.

“Our academic goal is that every student will be at grade level in each subject when they reach that grade level,” Bischoff said. “Since we have smaller class sizes out here, especially in (kindergarten through second), teachers will be able to track the students’ progress much easier because they have so few students. They’ll be able to work closer with the parents. We will have some parent trainings to show them what they can do at home to get students where they need to be and what the parents can do in the classroom to help the teachers work with the students.”

That emphasis on parents was echoed in recent meetings held at the school. White Pine County School District Trustee Janet Little said a focus on attendance and homework are two of the key areas parents can help their children succeed in school.

Those parents who attended the meeting expressed interest in learning new ways to help their children.

“Parents who spoke to me were mostly concerned with how to help their children succeed, not so much on who was helping them to succeed,” Little said

Another factor Bischoff said he believes will help the school improve its academic rating is its staff and a new emphasis on teaching and the school.

“I’m excited about all our staff members,” Bischoff said. “They bring different strengths to the school. Our expectation is we are going to work together in what is known as a professional learning community. It’s where we work together to improve the educational experience for the students. It’s not a meeting we have. It’s the way we do things around here. We’re going to be together and professional. That’s our expectation and we’re all excited about that concept.”

As McGill Elementary School looks to start the new school year on a high note, Bischoff is prepared to help lead the school into the future and is excited to get started.

“I’m just so grateful for the community of McGill and the support they have for the school,” Bischoff said. “If we continue to have that support and maybe even ramp it up a little bit, we’ll be able to get this school exactly where it needs to be.”