New schedule format, new iPads introduced under new BGA headmaster


New schedule format, new iPads introduced under new BGA headmaster

Besides a new schedule arrangement and 500 new iPads, Head of School Will Kesler is also a new addition to Battle Ground Academy this school year.

Besides a new schedule arrangement and 500 new iPads, Head of School Will Kesler is also a new addition to Battle Ground Academy this school year.

Kesler took over the school a little earlier than was originally planned on June 4 — about two months after Interim Head of School Randy Tucker, 70, was killed tragically in a car accident.

A Chattanooga native, Kesler has known about BGA since he was a high school student at Baylor School – a private 6-12 prep institution in Chattanooga – and wanted to lead an independent school with a sterling academic tradition and reputation, he said.

“We try to take the incredible traditions that tie students with the past and marry that to the innovations we can offer going into the future,” Kesler said.

“The three pillars – character, scholarship and excellence – were established when the school opened and are still the guiding pillars today. The new iPad program is a great way to take a classic liberal arts education and present it with a 21st century delivery system.”

This year, 500 new iPads are coming to BGA. Each student in the middle and upper schools, which encompasses grades 5-12, will receive a device.

Kesler is looking to the students in part for guidance on the new technology.

“I think the students can guide us on how best to use it. I’m sure there are things they’ll come up with in terms of annotating or accessing articles I haven’t thought of, because they’re digital natives.”

A “drop” schedule is also in place for the 2014-2015 school year, which began for BGA students Aug. 14.

On a drop schedule, students only meet for six out of eight periods each day on rotation, allowing them to enroll in more courses if they so choose.

In conjunction with the schedule change, faculty came up with new electives last spring to offer students when the new schedule format took effect. Some of those proposed courses were dystopian literature and focused history classes.

The drop schedule also allows for downtime during the day, so students can get more schoolwork done and potentially partake in more extracurricular activities, Kesler said.

The new head is a former faculty member of Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga as well as the former middle and upper school head of Deerfield-Windsor School in Georgia since 2010.

Now Kesler looks forward to retelling BGA’s story as the city of Franklin and Williamson County as a whole continue to attract more families. He also wants to “bring stability” to BGA with the intent of a long tenure.

Kesler said his past experiences, particularly in teaching, have prepared him for his new position.

“Teaching, to me, is the heart of students’ experience,” he said.

“When you shut your door and have 50 minutes with your students, that exchange of ideas and respectful dialogue is the golden moment of education.”

Kesler added that he wants students to be challenged, engaged and to cultivate leadership skills.

“I think the world’s most challenging problems that are facing our students in 10-15 years will ultimately be solved by creative, thoughtful leaders who can get the most out of the people working with them and for them,” he said.

“We want to encourage that creative, entrepreneurial spirit and get them ready to solve problems we don’t even know exist yet.”

Jessica Pace covers Williamson County, Williamson County Schools and the Town of Nolensville for BrentWord Communications. Contact her at jess@brentwoodhomepage.com or follow her on Twitter @Jess_Marie_Pace.

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