MSD principals share improvement plans

By Mandy Underwood

MSD principals shared their school improvement plans at the MSD school board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

All improvement plans had an overall focus on professional development and increased student satisfaction through academics, activities and extracurriculars.

Southwood Elementary principal Phil Boone shared that there were 30 instances over this summer that teachers and staff took advantage of professional development opportunities.

“We are very proud of our lifelong learning modeling from our teachers,” Boone said.

Southwood Elementary is also making it a priority this year to focus on the social and emotional learning aspect for students.

“[Our student’s] minds are deep in formation in those formative years,” Boone said.

Boone also shared about the robotics team and STEM program that is being implemented.

“We have 24 students in robotics, and we had 37 students try out. Three years ago, we were looking for kids to come, and this year, we unfortunately had to turn some kids away, but that has grown a lot in the last couple of years,” Boone said.

Metro North Elementary principal Janette Moore shared next.

She started with a focus on the plan for the school to continue to give back financially to the community.

Last year, the school gave back over $8,200.

“A huge chunk of that went to Friendship Hill, another large chunk went to help one of our students with the purchase of his wheelchair, and just to Riley Hospital, we give to them every year,” said Moore.

Moore also shared, that like Southwood Elementary, they have also had many teachers participate in summer professional development, specifically training to meet their Apple Teacher requirements to be able to better utilize technology in the classroom.

Metro North also plans to continue its robotics teams, made up strictly of third graders.

“Every year we start from scratch,” said Moore.

“It’s exciting to watch those 8 and 9-year-olds take on that challenge and be competitive with kids that are three and four years older than them, and have been doing robotics for several years, so that’s always exciting.”

Other key points to Metro North’s improvement plan included continuing the Bachelor Creek mentor program, and a focus on social opportunities and incentives for kids to encourage them to try their best with academics.

Sharp Creek elementary was up next sharing their improvement plan. Principal Jay Snyder shared that what he is most focused on is the SRO’s being in the school.

“As we talk about school improvement, school safety is a big part of it,” Snyder said.

“I’ve already students be comfortable enough to go up and tell the SRO something that we needed to talk to them about. That’s one of the things about those guys being in there, eating lunch with them, going out to recess, being a presence in the school, the kids are already getting very comfortable and love having them around.”

Snyder also spoke on ways that they are encouraging students to participate in activities that get them to think about others, rather than just themselves, such as Kiwanis K-Kids. Students who participated in it last year worked together to raise money with a fish fry. 

“We can put all this stuff in the school improvement plan about the STEM and about the science, reading, math, K-Kids is all about thinking about someone other than themselves, and that’s what it’s all about,” Snyder said.

Another part of the plan includes a goal to meet up with students from a school in Indianapolis that have been pen pals with students from Sharp Creek. They plan to meet up at Friendship Hill inclusive park in the fall.

Sharp Creek students will also get opportunities this year to visit colleges, universities, and career centers as a way to encourage them to think about post high school graduation plans early.

High School principals shared their improvement plans next.

Northfield High School Principal, Dr. Paul Voigt shared about the Notre Dame AP program that they are participating in, that benefits students as well as teachers by providing free professional development over the summers and during the school year.

Voigt also informed the board about new programs that Northfield is implementing such as an anti-bullying initiative, Sources of Spring, and a program called Study Island that has time built in for it during every school day.

Also, in Voigt’s plan was a goal to continue helping students with career awareness and development. Northfield High School will also be starting a robotics team.

Voigt said that the two main aspects he wants to focus on improving this year are academics and the school environment.

Lastly, Southwood High School principal Andrew McDaniel was up to share his plan and goals for the 2019-20 school year.

McDaniel started off sharing statistics of students who are utilizing Heartland Career Center.

“Forty-seven percent of our seniors, 38 percent of our juniors and 18 percent of our sophomores are attending Heartland. An additional 33 percent of our seniors are in our work-based learning program.” McDaniel said.

He also commented on the success that Southwood High School has experienced with having two SROs in the school. He mentioned that there will likely be three SROs by the end of the school year.

“We’ve already seen benefits to that,” McDaniel said.

“Mr. Langebardels is a really good source of information, he’s very knowledgeable and has access to recourses that we don’t have access to as school administrators. For example, with safety drills we were talking about a couple of days ago, and he brought up something that we hadn’t been mindful of. We’re seeing benefits already.”

SHS’s action plan for this school year includes an attendance goal of 97 percent and a graduation goal of 97 percent as well.

In addition to academics and attendance, McDaniel shared that it is also an important goal this year to seek to understand student and the complexities of their lives so that they may help them have a better education experience.

Following the principal reports, MSD Superintendent Mike Keaffaber shared the purpose of and priorities of a five year strategic plan.

The purpose of the plan is to position MSD of Wabash as a preeminent district of educational programming.

Priorities of the plan are as follows: student achievement, recruitment and retention, financial, and facilities and technology.

Also on Tuesday:

Donations in a total amount of $1,100 were accepted and approved.

Northfield teacher Shelly Myers was recognized and thanked for her hard work in making the inclusive playground, Frindship Hill, a reality.

Timothy Drake, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, shared the success of MSD AP students.

David S. Doud was reappointed to the Roann Public Library Board of Trustees for a four-year term ending September 15, 2023.

Posted on 2019 Sep 03