Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ludwig pleased with return to Lexington Trails Middle School

August 30, 2007

Steve Ludwig couldn't stay away from Lexington Trails Middle School.

Six years after leaving Lexington Trails in 2001 for a job as associate principal at Mill Valley High School, Ludwig returned as principal.

"I just kept finding that my heart was really with the middle school kids," he said. "I really enjoy that age group."

Although middle school students seem scary to some educators, Ludwig said the challenge is what makes it fun to work with them.

"The kids, they are going through a lot of stress in their lives, psychologically emotionally, physically. But at the same time you can get them to do or try almost anything so they are in many respects easier to work with than high school kids."

So, Ludwig began the 2007-08 school year at Lexington Trails.

Ludwig first came to De Soto USD 232 in 1996 as an associate principal at Lexington Trails. Before that, he was a high school English teacher for 19 years and he taught in the Kansas City area, western Kansas and Colorado.

A native of Oakley, Ludwig graduated from Kansas University in 1976 with a bachelor's degree.

After college, Ludwig wanted to stay in the Kansas City area because he liked the atmosphere so he took his first job in the Basehor-Linwood School District.

In 1995, Ludwig finished his master's degree with Emporia State University, and started working at Lexington Trails in 1996 as an associate principal.

One of the reason's Ludwig moved into administration was for the challenge.

"I was kind of at the point where I've done it for 19 years; I know what I'm doing," he said. "It also had to do with the impact that you can have. In a classroom you have impact on that group of kids you have that year, but as a principal you actually can have an impact on an entire building."

Although Ludwig said he didn't really remember the moment he knew he wanted to become a teacher, he said he did initially go to college to become to math teacher. He also said he was influenced by his older brother who went into education and his parents' friends who were teachers.

Among Ludwig's goals are to focus on literacy and reading at the school -- goals that were identified by the school board for this school year.

"One of the goals that we are looking at particularly for the building is to improve our state reading assessment scores," he said.

Lexington Trails has several students with special needs and a large Hispanic population with English as second language. Ludwig said both will make it challenging to meet adequate yearly progress standards.

"The difficulty of the No Child Left Behind legislation is that they expect all students to be proficient, and even with students who are coming in with English as a second language we have to have them proficient within two years," he said. "I would challenge anybody to go to a foreign country and become proficient in their language within two years of being there."

However, Ludwig said although the task may seem daunting the school was going to do its best to improve on assessment tests.

"If they are asking us to meet that particular goal I think we need to put our heart and soul into it and not say 'It's not attainable so we're not even going to try,' because if you don't try you're not even going to come close."

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