Officials seek community's input
The Mexico Public School District strives to strengthen its involvement and partnerships with the community. Tuesday night, district superintendents met with community members and local business owners to determine their expectations of the school.
The district refers to these types of meetings as World Café Discussions, which are sessions designed to produce feedback the district can use to evaluate its current delivery of educational efforts and what skills MHS students have and/or need to supply employer needs.
Mexico School District Superintendent Kevin Freeman and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Zachary Templeton led the discussions. Those attending included Gail Gallaher of Gallaher Insurance Group, Brad Hagan with Central Electric Coop, David Hagan with Hagan Roofing, local daycare operator Tina Schmidt, and Mexico School Board Secretary Bev Borgeson.
The one and a half-hour meeting opened with a short video presentation on international educational advisor Sir Ken Robinson's model on how schools can help students take their place in the economy in the 21st century, and an outline of Mexico Public School District goals, which include the following:
• 90 percent of third-graders reading at or above grade level by the end of the third grade.
• Top 10 percent in everything (all academic, all programs); and
• Graduates prepared for life after high school – be it a two or four-year college, a trade/or tech school, the military or a job.
"Everyone would like to think that all students want to go to college, but not all do," Freeman told the group. "So, we need to provide education that will prepare our students how to succeed for whatever is next."
Some questions the superintendents posed included:
• What do you expect of Mexico High School graduates entering the workforce?
• What classes or programs should we improve?
• What programs should we offer at the Hart Career Center?
• How or what can the school district do to better communicate with parents?
• With community members who do not have students in school?
Some of the responses were:
• Better and human relation skills
• Better prepared for college
• More homework
• More student accountability with behavioral issues
• Return of the building trades class at HCC.
Superintendent Freeman said he was pleased with the outcome and feedback from Tuesday's discussion. He stated would like to see larger groups in the future, but said "All conversation (concerning student achievement) is good," no matter the group size.
Freeman said the district plans to hold more World Cafe Discussions. One monthly if possible. The information garnered from the discussions will be discussed with school administration and used to establish goals for future educational efforts.
For more information or to reserve a seat, call Jennifer Baird at Central Office, 581-3773. To read more on Sir Ken Robinson's model on education visit www.ted.com. The TED acronym stands for technology, engineering and design.