It’s the end of June and we’re about a month into summer break. It is hard to believe a new school year is just around the corner.
We’re planning now for the year to come — eager to build on the growth our students have shown and accomplishments we’ve made — but it’s also a great time to reflect.
As a whole, we have many things to celebrate. At the district level we:
• Introduced MasteryConnect, a tool teachers can use to measure student progress. Teachers track the performance of their students based on specific learning targets (state standards) and adjust their instruction as needed. For example, if the data show a class isn’t grasping a particular concept, the teacher can spend more time or alter the approach to the topic. If the class shows mastery of the subject, the teacher can move forward, confident the students understand. Next year, students will be able to log into accounts to watch their growth, and in year three, the final year of the program’s rollout, parents will have access at home.
• Launched Facebook, RollCall and newspaper guest columns (such as this). Each of these has helped us share more information with you as part of our overall commitment to stay connected. The more involved a community, the stronger the school system. Adding these methods to our existing efforts allows us to reach even more people, more often. Additionally, as of this spring, the Madison-Plains Advisory Council (MPAC), has consistently met each month for the past five years. Community support is critical to our success.
• Joined a group of county leaders this spring to discuss potential development of southern Madison County. Commissioners, CIC members and Mt. Sterling Chamber of Commerce members have scheduled regular meetings in effort to work strategically together on the growth of our area and possible increase of the tax base. Thoughtful development of a sound infrastructure — road and utilities — would positively impact the strength of school system and we are pleased to be considered a part of this group.
• Have more than 30 parents, teachers and staff members volunteering on a levy committee. The Board of Education placed an emergency operating levy on the Aug. 8 ballot. It would raise about $2 million for the district to maintain current programming. If passed, the measure would cost a homeowner about $200 per year per $100,000 of valuation. The district has the lowest tax rate of all surrounding districts and has not increased taxes in 12 years. The group is working on an action plan now for sharing information.
At the building level, there is always a lot of activity. Here are just a few highlights (there are many more on our website at www.mplsd.org and on our Facebook page) of the accomplishments of our students and staff:
• Madison-Plains High School Science teacher Scott Spohler was the recipient of the Be E3 Smart Outstanding Energy Efficiency Educator award by Dayton Power and Light; second-grade teacher Carmelina Larke was selected by Battelle for Kids for its Celebrate Teaching Distinguished Educator award; English teacher Steve Jackson (who retired this year after 45 years in the district) was voted the Best Teacher in Madison County by readers of The Madison Press; and sixth-grade Morgan Gaus was chosen as the May Teacher of the Month by Sunny 95.
• The High School Concert Band was one of just five bands to travel to Denison University for the privilege of working with Dr. Frank Battisti, one of the greatest band directors in wind band history.
• Four Madison-Plains High School students in FFA had their degrees evaluated at the national level and four advanced at the state level. In addition, the three officers from the school’s chapter received gold star ratings on their officer books.
• Five students participated in the school’s new Eagle Internship program, gaining experience in professional settings. The program will continue next year and is slated to expand to 10 students.
• Twenty-three students in eighth through 11th grades attended Wright State University’s first-ever Youth Leadership Summit.
• The K-12 Visual Arts Show and sixth through 12th grade Spring Concert packed the house. Almost every student in the district was represented and the event was a fantastic display of our talented student body.
• Sixth-grader Molly Barber’s essay about her brother told in the first-person won fourth place in the Laws of Life essay contest for sixth through eighth grade students in 22 counties in Central Ohio. Eighteen pieces were selected for judging in the final round.
• Students in kindergarten through sixth grade collected far more than double that of any other participating school district in the annual penny drive for Madison County Ohio Make a Difference Day efforts.
• Traveling far and wide, students in third-grade visited the Newport Aquarium in the Cincinnati area, seventh-grade spent time at Camp Cotubic, eighth-graders headed to D.C. and high school students went to New York City and Philadelphia for a Civics II class trip. Furthermore, a smaller group from the high school spent 12 days on an international excursion to London, France and Spain.
• Several students at the high school competed in the state FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) competition. Sophomore Sara Hoop High earned a Gold rating in the Nutrition and Wellness category and was named National Runner-Up.
• Our seventh grade Power of the Pen team earned first place out of 30 teams from three counties at a districtwide writing competition and the eighth-grade team placed second of 30 in its division.
• On the field, mats and courts, Madison-Plains had four wrestlers move on to the state tournament, the power lifting club finished second in the state and the boys varsity basketball team finished a 13-9 a season and 7-4 in the conference.
Thanks to all of you for a great year. We look forward to your continued support in 2017-18 in making Madison-Plains strong.
Tim Dettwiller is the superintendent of Madison-Plains Local Schools. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or call 740-490-0614.