Making Today Count: Defining Student Success
In November, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) launched a new system for measuring school performance – the Future Ready PA Index. This system is an improvement from the previous accountability system that ranked schools by a single score, weighted heavily by standardized assessment results. The Future Ready PA Index goes beyond the framework of issuing a single score by offering a more comprehensive focus on three essential areas for measuring school performance: (a) academic performance, (b) student progress/growth, and (c) college and career readiness.
Having an accountability system for school performance that offers more meaningful, holistic data, including various measures of student growth, college and career readiness, and early indicators of success (grade 3 reading and grade 7 mathematics), provides important information to parents, school educators, and administrators. This information is essential for building successful educational programs for students K-12. Even further, the student growth measures at the elementary level, as well as the “Grade 3 Reading-Early Indicator of Success” data, help us identify areas of improvement for our early learners (PreK-Grade 2 students). Given our strong focus on expanding early learning initiatives at MTSD, and ensuring academically at-risk students are identified earlier and effectively supported, this data helps our pursuit to increase proficiency in grade 3 literacy for all students.
Beyond the focus on the younger learners and the early identification of students in need, our district Comprehensive (Strategic) Plan also addresses the desire for increasing the graduation rate and overall academic achievement through provision of additional learning opportunities. These opportunities may serve as learning interventions as well as new, meaningful job-embedded experiences that promote college and career readiness. The PDE continues to emphasize the significance of offering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) experiences in grades K-12, and computer science education, especially given the growing workforce demands in these areas. We are pleased with PDE’s emphasis on promoting college and career preparation skills; it supports our district and high school goal to build more internship and apprenticeship opportunities for students within their local community. Partnerships with local businesses and organizations offer engaging, meaningful, real-life experiences that will ultimately challenge and prepare students for life after graduation.
We are in the process of developing several exciting new opportunities that provide the rigor and application of real-world/career-focused learning experiences. Some examples of these opportunities include building career development and college preparation skills through additional dual enrollment and College in the High School opportunities, as well as new partnerships for student internships and apprenticeships. These career-focused learning experiences are not solely for high school students; we recently involved middle school students in visits to local industries. On January 11, about 95 MT middle school 7th graders participated in workplace tours within the Lancaster area. This experience was made possible by a grant through our MT Educational Foundation. The students visited TE Connectivity in Manheim, PBZ Manufacturing in Lititz, and Flex/Cell in Lancaster. Students learned about careers available in our Lancaster area and toured each facility. Junior Achievement activities at Landis Run Intermediate School offer additional opportunities for students to be introduced to real-world, career-related skills.
Employee of the Month
An example of a MTSD educator who consistently provides engaging, meaningful instruction that provides students with a strong foundation for learning is Mrs. Beth Faehling, a fifth grade teacher at Landis Run Intermediate School. Mrs. Faehling is our “Employee of the Month” for January. The Board of School Directors honored her at the January 17 public meeting.
Mrs. Faehling was nominated by her colleagues for “always going above and beyond for her students and our school; she cares deeply about each of her students and believes in teaching the ‘whole’ child.” Her fellow educators shared that “her positive energy is contagious!” She demonstrates great compassion and patience with the students who need it most. They further noted that she is a great leader, and “always knows the right thing to say in any situation.” One teacher offered, “Mrs. Faehling shares her knowledge with passion and positivity.”
Throughout our district we continue to be relentless in our work to provide multiple opportunities for student success. There is not a lone pathway that meets the needs of all students.