Hello Marshall Public Schools Community:
The wait is finally over and MPS has welcomed back our fabulous students and staff. MPS teachers and staff members were back getting ready to open the doors wide to the 2017-2018 school year. As I visited the buildings across the district, I saw many smiles and lots of happy kids and adults. It was a great day, so many thanks to all those who made it happen!
The biggest event Marshall has seen in a while was the total eclipse. MPS had so many people who worked very hard to make this an educational and exciting day students, families and staff will always remember! Schools had been studying and exploring all things eclipse since last spring and when the actual day came, it was celebrated with picnics, solar system chalk drawings, a photo booth, moon walk contests, flip books, mystery science activities, and lots of fun.
I want to thank everyone across the district who worked so hard to make the day a spectacular success. Besides those in the schools who worked directly with students, MPS people from transportation, food service, maintenance, custodial, technology and other departments acted together to give the kids a great day. Thank you also to Wood & Huston, Red Cross Pharmacy, and Fitzgibbon Hospital for providing our schools with eclipse glasses and extra learning support. What a great example of community and school partnership!
A wonderful day was reported by all schools. We had reduced attendance but the kids who were here loved the day, and everyone enjoyed the spectacle and each other. It was absolutely a shiny day for our kids and adults! As Mr. Tobin at Bueker said, “We had an outstanding day and I would not have wanted to be anywhere else! We had a lot of fun!” Other feedback from around the district was:
- Southeast School had a great solar eclipse day. We kicked off the day with an all school assembly about the solar eclipse and observation safety using the glasses provided. We also had learning activity stations including solar eclipse chalk art, making a model of the sun, moon, and earth, a read aloud, and YouTube videos, among lots of other activities. Several families attended with their child.
- We had a wonderful day at the Spainhower School! There were stations for the kids to participate in shadow drawing (which didn't work due to the clouds), astronaut boot camp, ultraviolet bead bracelet making and space trivia. After totality, we got to see more of the actual eclipse. We ended our day with an all-school kickball game and snacks. The kids loved it!
Although hard to believe, there were other articles of business going on around the district. Here are a few:
1. Last year, Marshall voters approved a tax rate increase to restore the levy to $3.12, as we had requested. This year, the MO State Auditor's office set the highest rate that can be taxed (without voter approval) at $3.1395. The decision for the board was — Do we set the higher rate which would generate about $32,000 more dollars or apply a roll-back (reduction) and reduce the rate to $3.1200, which would generate about $14,000? Although the added income would help, I’m not sure it would be worth public perception that we may be doing something underhanded if the higher levy was set. It was my recommendation we keep the levy at $3.12 for the 2017-2018 school year and the board agreed.
2. Dr. Lorenz reports that the roofing project at the high school, career center and industrial arts building is wrapping up and should be finished by the first of the month or shortly after. It was the first time, in a long time, that a heavy rain hit Marshall and the high school had no leaks! Work continues to regulate the cooling system controls and we have cool, fresh air circulating.
3. During the board meeting on the 22nd, Amy Carney was recognized for writing and winning the Monsanto Grant “America Farmers Grow Rural America” for $10,000! Amy will use the funding to buy cutting-edge calculators for the MHS Math Department and donate the previously used ones for different uses, such as use on the ACT or for high-level homework. What a great celebration for our high school and many thanks go to Amy for her extraordinary work!
4. The MPS Board of Education also recognized an outstanding MHS student, Conner Schulte, for his selfless work to help younger students find success in MHS in general and the football program in particular.
5. Last year, I asked Marshall High School administrators to offer solutions to these questions:
- How can we transform a relatively large high school into smaller learning communities?
- How do we make sure our freshmen are successful in setting a path for their high school career and beyond? (Research has shown ninth grade to be a critical at-risk year for students.)
- How can we integrate offerings at the Saline County Career Center and Marshall High School?
- How can Marshall High School become more effective and efficient in its service to students, their families and the community?
MHS and MPS Central Office administrators continue to discuss high school reform and plan to use this school year to study and plan for implementation with the freshman class next year. MHS faculty and administrators will be visiting three other high schools in Missouri to observe and discuss with those schools their efforts to make sure students are college and career ready. This is exciting work and all Marshall students will surely benefit from our efforts. Thanks for reading and your continued support of MPS and our students!
6. Homecoming is right around the corner – Sept. 22! We hope many owls from far and near will come home to celebrate with us! After all, we are Marshall!