Hello Marshall Community:
What a great time of year! From Halloween to Christmas break, there is magic in the air in school buildings and Marshall is no exception. We know to engage kids in learning during all times of the seasons, it takes special teachers, administrators and staff who are exceptional. There is no room for mediocrity in MPS. This is how we feel about all adults who work in MPS: High standards, high expectations, no excuses. It’s what separates great schools from good ones! We’re all grateful for MPS employees, so thanks everyone in Marshall for allowing us that privilege!
To continue with news about MPS awesomeness, here are some of the things going on in the district:
Again, congratulations to the Marshall FFA on their incredible accomplishment of being named the number one chapter in the nation. No other chapter has ever achieved and maintained such a tradition. State and local officials were on hand on Nov. 17 to formally thank the chapter and supporters for a job so well done!
We had 21 MHS alumni represented at MHS Career Day in November. One-third of the careers showcased were represented by a MHS alumni! Looking forward to the next career day and hoping to include more alumni and more virtual presenters from other parts of the country!
During the November meeting, Jonathan White, Susan Angelhow and Renee Vaught spoke about our teacher home visit program, HomeWorks! Mr. White is a member of the Board of Directors and reports the statistics below from last month’s meeting in St. Louis. All results indicate enthusiastic support of the HomeWorks! program. Our family dinners were huge successes, with a total of well over 300 people attending! I cannot thank Spainhower and Early Childhood teachers, administrators and staff enough for the really awesome job they did. Connecting with parents and families is such an important part of our mission and it is a goal of the Board of Education. Thank you to those who are supporting that through HomeWorks!
Ian Verts, MHS assistant principal, is heading the reform efforts at Marshall High School. Our committee has been traveling, researching and reporting their progress on high school improvement. If you will remember, last year I asked the high school administration four questions I would like the committee to address this year, with the expectation of implementation during the 2018-2019 school year. Those points are:
· Offer solutions to the question: How can we take a relatively large high school and break it up into smaller learning communities?
· Research has shown ninth grade to be a critical at-risk year for students. How do we make sure our freshmen are successful in setting a path for their high school career and beyond?
· Offer solutions to the question: 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?
We have received the district’s 2017 Annual Performance Report from DESE, but not building level scores. The scores showed a slight decrease in mathematics (-0.2), a decrease in science (-2.0), a larger decrease in language arts (-4.3), and a gain in social studies (+2.2).
Of course, we were hoping for a stronger showing in the testing results, but there are three points that must be considered when reviewing those scores:
· Impact of Great Circle student achievement on district achievement.
· The absence of English two and algebra one scores, due to mistakes made by the testing vendor.
· Probable incorrect data reported in our college and career readiness area.
Until we receive the building level scores, we are not able to come to conclusions about at what level the challenges are. It should be noted that the achievement gap between students living in poverty and their classmates remains a district-wide challenge. By implementing the Marshall-driven curriculum and maintaining high expectations for student and adult performance, we are committed to closing this gap and becoming the premiere school district in the state! Also, we fully expect to gain points back after corrections have been made to our data.
Unfortunately, there are still issues that are negating the transfer of the Hab Center property, including the Spainhower School, to the city and then to MPS. Because the Spainhower building is in very bad condition (the HVAC probably won’t make it through the spring and the roof is in worse condition than current district buildings), there are tough choices to make.
· It is my and Dr. Lorenz’s opinions that it is again too late to schedule the roof and HVAC work for this summer. If the building becomes unsafe or uncomfortable for students and teachers, do we find another building to rent and move?
· We can’t spend a significant amount of money to fix equipment on a building we don’t own. MPS set up a lease purchase agreement so the money is available and it has been our intention to renovate the building and continue our work there. Do we put that goal on indefinite hold?
Finally, it is time for interested community members to register to run for a seat on the MPS Board of Education. Filing begins Dec. 12 and ends Jan. 16 and may be completed at the MPS Central Office, during business hours. Please note that the office will be closed over Christmas break, Dec. 20 to Jan. 3.
Thanks for your support and enthusiasm for MPS, Marshall! The happiest of holidays to all Owls everywhere!