Student development, safety a focus for MAPS this year
From the early childhood education to MHS, Merrill Area Public Schools will be taking a multi-faceted approach in promoting student development and safety throughout the 2019-20 school year.
As district Superintendent Dr. John Sample explains, the approach encompasses the district’s pillars of success as well as information garnered from MAPS community conversations.
“From a district operational perspective, everything we do must have a firm response to the simple question “why?” The four pillars; student achievement and success, community participation, student and staff wellness and fiscal responsibility, most certainly answer this question, as reflected by our community’s strategic plan engagement.”
Pine River School for Young Learners – Conscious Discipline and ACEs
This school year, Pine River School for Young Learners will be extending the Conscious Discipline strategies to parents. Evening events, newsletters, and the learning targets will include a portion to inform parents about what their child is learning at school, to impact their social emotional well-being. The parent component of Conscious Discipline is intended to be engaging for both the parents and the students in the families supported at PRSYL. Families will also be learning about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the impact these experiences have on learning and the future success of their child and family.
MAPS Elementary Schools
MAPS elementary schools will be focused on family communication and engagement, as well as a variety of strategies to address student wellness. As with each building, the district scorecard is used as a primary source of success. Parents and familes can expect student achievement to be shown using multiple sources of data this school year.
Prairie River Middle School
PRMS will begin their Parent Ambassador Program during the 2019-20 school year, which will be similar to the program at the high school. Parent volunteers willing to participate, will assist the administration with building safety and become another set of eyes within the middle school. Another goal of the program, is for parental presence to assist with improving student behaviors.
Merrill High School
Merrill High School is not only focusing on improving their student achievement data this year, but uses that data to look for specific gaps in student achievement. With the flexibility of the high school schedule, the means to analyze testing data and the many learning opportunities available, MHS students can excel in a variety of different areas. Also, according to Sample, the Technology Education, Business Education and Agriculture Education programs are collaborating to initiate student run enterprises this year.
In addition to the various school-specific approaches introduced this year, is an array of new cocepts and faces district-wide. One such concept new to the district will be the progress monitoring tool, FastBridge, which will be replacing MAP testing.
Still given three times each year, FastBridge will provide district administration and staff more data relating to ongoing student achievement and has a social-emotional learning component.
Of the newest staff to join the district this year, 25% are MHS alum.
The score card pillars Sample previously mentioned, will be another new, key focus for the district. The pillars and values associated were formed directly from strategic planning evenings held last spring between district admin and with the community stakeholders.
In addition to the four pillars, Sample lists an array of values the district has focused on as a results of community conversations.
“From student academic achievement, college/career-readiness, family engagement and community involvement to addressing social-emotional needs and attracting/retaining high quality teachers and administrators, our community values these as priorities for success,” the fourth-year administrator explains.
Professional development opportunities, research-based budgeting and structurally sound facilities are additional values Sample lists as direct result of community conversations.
“We value our community and want our students to have the best opportunity for present and future success.”