Right across the Ohio River, Bellevue Independent Schools is a school district that values the whole child as an individual and is dedicated to providing quality education to its students. 

“If you walk through the front doors of Bellevue, you’ll see a heavy focus on the child,” says Robb Smith, superintendent of Bellevue Independent Schools. 

Preparing students for success starts early on at Bellevue. Currently offering a full-day kindergarten program and half-day preschool program, Bellevue schools will be undergoing a “substantial early childhood education focus,” says Smith. In the fall, the district will be adding a head start and early head start program for young children. 

Another big change is happening in the fall; grade six is joining grades seven and eight at the high school building. A new middle school will have its own floor in the high school, and students are already submitting their ideas for the new space. 

“It’s a blank canvas right now,” says Smith. 

High school students are also seeing some changes in academic opportunities. 

Though it’s in its infant stages, Bellevue schools are creating a “college-going culture” through a partnership with Gateway Community and Technical College. Junior and senior high school students will be able to attend college-level classes at Gateway, allowing them to take general education college classes while still in high school for dual credit. Plus, college credits are transferable to area state colleges and universities, and will decrease the cost of going to college for students and their families. “It gives students the rigors of a college environment,” adds Smith. 

Smith says that many of the career paths Bellevue students are interested in are service-oriented, like education, health services and social services. 

“College offers different freedoms, a different lifestyle. Some students don’t know how to study and are lacking a strong work ethic,” says Smith. “Test scores might say ‘Yes [they are prepared],’ but we really want to make sure our students are.” 

Though the partnership is still in the works, the board of education has already received positive feedback from students and the community about this upcoming educational offering. 

“It’s a testament to our community,” says Smith. “I’m proud of their motivation, their kindness and generosity.”

Technology is also becoming more prevalent in the district. 

Bellevue schools are leaning towards blended learning by incorporating online classes, like AP Physics—which is not offered as a regular class—during the school day. 

Bellevue High School offers five AP classes, but through its online offerings will be able to offer more AP classes. 

Bellevue’s elementary school is also working towards a 1-to-1 ratio in its Pilot Program (Pupils Interactively Learning with Outstanding Technology) in the elementary school, which has currently provided over 150 iPads for student use. 

“It’s a valuable learning tool used for research and to demonstrate what they’ve learned,” says Smith. 

Just last year, the program established by Ken Weber and his wife in 2011 had a donation of $20,000 dollars after the Weber’s issued a match-challenge of $10,000 dollars to the Bellevue Education Foundation. It was a success, and a huge one for the district, which Smith says is made up of “hard-working people who are involved [and] willing to partner and volunteer.”

“If you are looking for a home, take a long look at Bellevue,” says Smith.