Superintendent’s Corner- July 9, 2014
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 8:54 AM
The 2013-14 school year was a testament to Merrill’s rich tradition of student success, innovation in the classroom and new learning opportunities for students. To name just a few, our fine arts department celebrated students’ talents from the art canvas, to the performance stage and on the field through competition marching band. Our third grade students and their parents were given the opportunity to see how technology can enhance learning; while others were experiencing the benefits of personalized learning that is customized to individual learners’ needs. Our applied academics has engaged students in hands-on learning opportunities through activities such as building canoes at the middle school to enhancing agriculture science classes at the high school that are now eligible for Science credit. Finally Merrill continues to prepare students to be college and career ready by maintaining high expectations for academic achievement and requiring high school students to complete 3 credits of Math.
All this is possible due to the support our community has for student success. We greatly appreciate our community volunteers that serve kids; the financial support of enrichment and co-curricular programs; the community donations that made our weight room a top class facility; and, the scholarships that reached $1.7 million in support of students continuing their education at the college/university level. Once again, thank you for your support and desire for quality learning opportunities for students.
As we seek efficient ways to provide opportunities for students, we are committed to carry on the Merrill tradition. It is our intent to make Merrill a “Destination District of choice” for families interested in an education where students are motivated to learn and are engaged in learning. To accomplish this mission I want to take a moment to share a little more about personalized learning.
During the 2014 spring semester, a team of 3rd grade teachers conducted a personalized learning pilot in a math unit on fractions. Teachers, students, and parents all indicated that students were more engaged and learned more about fractions through personalized learning strategies than under the traditional textbook strategy. The focus of personalized learning is to adjust our approach to learning and teaching in a manner that places the learner at the center. It is grounded in the premise that all learning is and always has been personal and autonomous. In order for learning to occur the learner must see purpose or significance and make a connection to what the learning outcome is.
So what is in it for you?
o Learner: (1) Having your personal learning needs met every hour of every day; (2) The opportunity to learn at your optimum rate of speed…to advance as far as time and motivation allow; (3) The elimination of fear of failure and boredom when you are able to determine what and how you learn; (4) The opportunity for “real world” learning from people (coaches/mentors) who are doing it for real.
o Leader/Board Member: (1) The opportunity to move from the role of school manager to that of a transformational leader; (2) The opportunity to be future focused, innovative, courageous, excited, and passionate about what you do; (3) The peace of mind that comes with knowing you are doing the right thing…that decisions are not made for administrative convenience but are based on what is best for learners.
o Parents: (1) Children who graduate empowered for their future…be that college, work or another choice; (2) Children who are motivated to learn and able to learn at a rate independent of other learners; (3) Children who have fewer complaints about school.
o Community: (1) Graduates who are self-directed, lifelong learners who have been thoughtfully and intentionally prepared to be contributing members of society and competitive in a global economy; (2) Learners/graduates who have advanced to the maximum of their ability and are ready to contribute to the continuous improvement of organizations; (3) Empowered graduates who are not fearful of trying out their entrepreneurial ideas.
Other District Information to Note
• Our website is getting an upgrade in early July! We will have a link on the website to a short survey for community members to let us know their thoughts about the upgrade. Please consider taking a couple of minutes to complete the survey – your opinion matters!
How can I access MAPS Board meetings?
• Board meetings are aired online: http://merrillproductions.pegcentral.com
• Board meetings can also be found on our local television broadcast station if you have Merrill Public Access via Charter cable, Channel 96.
Notice of 2015 NAEP Testing at Jefferson Elementary
DPI has notified us that Jefferson Elementary has been selected to take the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam. NAEP is the assessment that our state assessment has been norm to and results are compiled in The Nation’s Report Card. Some of our students will actually be assessed on a technology-based platform. The proctors of the assessment will provide the technology for the assessment. We can anticipate the assessment to occur sometime between January 26 to March 6, 2015.
If you have any questions, please contact us. Until then, wishing you a great summer!