Progress Update 4-25-17
During the April 25, 2017 meeting of the Board of School Directors, Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe and members of his administrative team presented the Board with a detailed review of progress made in the strategic objectives scheduled to be completed during the first year of the Strategic Plan, as well as providing a look ahead at goal work in the coming year.
Progress Update 3-21-17
Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment and the Director of Pupil
Services finalized the “Whole Child” Definition and Evaluation Rubric.
Whole Child Definition
The WC approach utilizes five tenets that make the student the focal
- Healthy: Each student enters school healthy and learns about and
practices a healthy lifestyle
- Safe: Each student learns in an environment that is physically and
emotionally safe for students and adults
- Engaged: Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected
to the school and broader community
- Supported: Each student has access to personalized learning and is
supported by qualified, caring adults
- Challenged: Each student is challenged academically and prepared for
success in college or further studies and for employment and participation in a
information was recently distributed to the principals in each building. The principals will be forming building
committees so they can use this information to evaluate the effectiveness of
the supports and services currently in place.
Once the building level rubrics are completed, district administration
will be reviewing all of the data. The timeline for building committees to
analyze the effectiveness of the supports and services will be extended for a
period of about one month.
The recently completed Needs
Assessment Survey for the 2017-18 school year was revised to more clearly
identify professional development needs for staff at each level and role in the
district. Plans are ongoing to redesign professional development for
teachers new to Methacton to better address items including software used daily
and district policies; and focus in-service time on practices tied to Strategic
Plan goals. The Act 48 Committee reviewed
the results and began discussing next steps.
The Director of
Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Dr. Mary Katona; and the Supervisor of
Professional Learning and Continuous Improvement, Tara Ricci have developed a
PowerPoint to use with staff at each level to explain the STEM vision for the
district and the goals for examining how current courses, instruction, and
assessment reflect the elements within that vision:
High school teachers and
staff engaged in brainstorming ideas during the February in service, and the
remaining faculty will continue this effort throughout the month of March. While the district is largely on target in strategic
objectives related to planning in the area of STEM, areas of this goal
anticipated to be completed by the end of the 2016-2017 school may be extended
into the 2017-2018 school year.
- experiential-based learning/practical
- progression of complexity
- infusing core STEM values into curriculum,
instruction, & assessment:
- critical thinking
Progress Update 12-20-16
school building has developed a complete master inventory list of the supports
and services offered in their schools.
This information was forwarded to the Director of Curriculum and
Instruction and the Director of Pupil Services for review. The Whole Child Definition and rubric are
being finalized so this information can be distributed to principals in each
building when. Building committees are
schedule to be formed in January 2017 to use this information to evaluate the
effectiveness of the supports and services currently in place.
- Leveraging the diverse makeup and experience
of the district’s Act 48 Committee, Tara Ricci, who serves as the district’s Coordinator
of Staff Development and Continuous Improvement; updated the survey used to
gather feedback by the district as a follow-up to professional development
activities. The December 1, 2016 meeting of the Act 48 Committee reviewed
feedback from all Professional Development sessions held this year and
discussed changes for the new survey. The revised survey will be used for
gaining staff feedback following the mid-January in-service. The
committee will review this survey data in early March and begin work on a
Professional Development calendar for 2017-18.
- In addition to the work by the Act 48
Committee, Ms. Ricci met with each building principal, department chairs, and program
coordinators to gather feedback regarding Professional Development needs. This
input will be used in conjunction with the assessment survey data for the basis
of the Professional Development plan for the coming school year.
- The focus of STEM so far this year has been
mainly on laying the groundwork for collecting information on STEM-based
learning opportunities already implemented in the district. Dr. Katona has met
with science and math coordinators, as well as with an administrator from each
level (K-4, 5-8, & 9-12) to review the goals related to collecting the
necessary information. The groups plan to review the summary from the Asset
STEM two-day workshop held in spring 2015 so everyone has an understanding of
the district’s vision around STEM-based learning. The committee will gather
feedback related to how STEM-based learning is currently occurring at each
level in Methacton. The committee is seeking to identify STEM
elements/connections as appropriate in the following:
- Activities (after-school clubs, special class
days, field trips, etc.)
- Professional Development
- Specific school-related STEM programming
Several staff have attended STEM-focused
workshops, including sessions at Reading Area Community College and Montgomery
County Intermediate Unit to gather information for the district as it relates
to STEM needs moving forward.
Information from the activities above will be
collected beginning in January 2017 in order to provide a summary along with recommendations
for expanding STEM programming by the end of June 2017.
Progress Update 11-3-16
The centerpiece of this goal is the district’s work on the “Whole Child
Concept.” The Whole Child Concept is an approach to teaching that addresses not
only the academic component of education, but other contributing factors to a
child’s development. As such, principals are reviewing student supports
relative to this concept and a rubric for evaluating those resources. This
information will then in turn provide a basis for establishing the district’s
fundamental approach to teaching and define aspects critical to improving the
overall educational experience and development of all students. Much of this
work will be completed after the winter holidays.
The Methacton teaching staff is our most
important resource. While we are fortunate to have such talented, dedicated,
and engaged staff, there will always be a need to grow and develop as
professionals to remain relevant to changes in our culture, economy, and society.
To remain relevant, we need to make significant and focused professional
development opportunities available for our staff. As such, a new professional development needs
assessment is being created with the help of the district’s Act 48 committee
. The survey will
be distributed in January and the Act 48 committee will leverage this
information to structure future offerings designed to meet this strategic goal.
In addition to work on the Whole Child, STEM (science, technology, engineering
and mathematics) is at the forefront of this focus area. It is evident that
Methacton teachers, across all buildings and grades, have been integrating
intriguing and relevant STEM concepts, projects, and other efforts into the
curriculum. As such, our intent under this strategic planning goal is to bring
these efforts together and to establish an organized direction for STEM education
in Methacton. Work has begun to identify current STEM experiences at each level.
There are discussions at all levels regarding this initiative while the high
school level considers its technology education offerings and how to best
structure programming and curriculum to this end. Part of this effort includes
investigating proven programs, including Project Lead the Way.
While not called out in the strategic plan, the Education Foundation
for the Methacton Community (EFMC), a non-profit
501-c3 foundation that works to support and enrich programming and
opportunities for Methacton students, has additionally been targeting STEM
initiatives. One such initiative is the creation of a summer STEM immersion program
for teachers, developed with cooperation and support from the EFMC.