2009-02-14 / Top News

New School Improvement Committee To Seek Public Suggestions

By Ryan Schlehuber

A new pipeline of communication and information sharing has been reopened with the reorganization of the school's Improvement Committee. The eight-member committee, chaired by former school board member Paul Wandrie, was reappointed by school board president Ben Mosley earlier this winter.

Committee members serve a one-year term and are reappointed each school year.

"Any time you can get more input and get more people involved with school issues, it's a valuable and positive addition to the school and the students' education," said Mr. Mosley.

The committee met for the first time January 14, reviewing the mission statement and a list of priorities the school's previous improvement team created, and preparing a survey to solicit concerns about the school and ideas for improvement from the community.

"Right now, we're trying to explain to the public and the board what we're about and what we'll be doing," said Mr. Wandrie. "We have a list of priorities, but I also want to leave it open for committee members to discuss anything pertaining to our students' education and facilities."

The committee also wants to educate residents on procedures of the board of education.

"I think if we can provide parents and community members with the know-how, they'll be more enticed to attend board meetings and to get more involved with the school," he said.

Joining him on the committee are Mr. Mosley's 11th grade daughter, Shelbie, Superintendent Roger Schrock, school board member Larry Rickley, and parents Jack Armstrong, Erin Beck, Wendy Nicewander, and Urvana Morse.

"We have a pretty good group of people on this committee," said Mr. Wandrie. "They are extremely interested in our school and our students' education and they are committed to try and involve the community more."

Projects being eyed by the committee, said Mrs. Beck, include creating a reusable theater stage, installing a public address system for the gymnasium and multipurpose room, and creating a policy to allow public use of the gymnasium and multipurpose room after school hours.

"Paul is the most organized person and the best person I know at leadership that I've ever experienced," said Mr. Mosley about Mr. Wandrie. "He's the best at detail and I knew once he got the committee started, he wasn't going to take long to get it going like he has."

Mackinac Island Public School Improvement Committee Priorities

There are nine priorities that the school improvement committee has adopted for this year, according to Dr. Schrock.

Communication with parents: "We are aiming to keep the parents abreast of school issues and get them to be more involved, if we can," he said.

Sufficient number of friendly, dedicated staff members: "This means to assure we always have enough teachers assigned to particular teaching assignments that pertain to the curriculum."

Safe and clean environment

Class availability: "We'd like to enhance our curriculum to include electives and college courses. We'd also like to expand on a vocational and technology center where students can learn trade skills, such as small engine repair, which we have one student doing this year.

"We'd also like to add foreign language classes that are right now provided through the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District's interactive television courses, but nothing can replace having a teacher actually in the room, being available for one-on-one interaction and helping after class, for example."

The school provides French and Spanish classes taught by teachers at Rudyard High School through interactive television.

Meeting the needs of all students: "This includes curricular and extracurricular activities," said Dr. Schrock. "This includes adding a guidance counselor, which, right now, we provide secular counseling services through Catholic Charities from Sault Ste. Marie."

Top-notch Curriculum: "With the recent changes to the state's standards with school curriculums, we want to be sure we meet those enhanced standards."

Guidance/ careers: "We want to continue providing road trips for our students to visit not only universities but technology and trade schools. We want to allow them to explore post-high school opportunities through our school."

Respect for teachers/ students: "Basically, we want to make sure this is a two-way street where teachers and students have respect for one another and to keep our school's attitude and environment positive."

Facility issues: "We're trying to be as maintenance-free as possible with our facility. Last summer we replaced trim on the school building, for example. One thing we're looking to improve this year is the exterior of our storage building in the back of the school building, by either painting it or residing it."

The storage building is also where the school holds wood shop class and stores its tractor, snowthrower, and cross country ski equipment.

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