December 29th Board Special Meeting and Board Work Session

On December 29, 2015 the Mt. Pleasant Community School Board met in both a Special Session and then a Board Work Session.  The Special Session was held to discuss and then approve a professional development program with the University of Northern Iowa.  This is a groundbreaking program and will include graduate level courses in the following areas:

  • Philosophical and Legal Basis for Inclusion
  • Advanced Inclusive Pedagogy
  • Creating Inclusive Classroom Communities
  • Assistive Technology in the Inclusive Classroom
  • Practicum Experience.

Educators from the Mt. Pleasant Community School District will learn and work together to implement classroom practices that make core instruction at each grade level accessible to all students.  The board approved the program.

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During the Board Work Session that followed information was received and discussions were held on the following topics:

  • Career Academies
  • Early Childhood Program Location for 2015-16
  • Sharing Opportunities with the Harmony School District
  • Elementary Facilities
  • Technology

The next meeting will be a Regular Board Session on Monday January 12, 2015 at 7:00 P.M. at the Mt. Pleasant Community High School

Elementary K-3 Teachers Take on Reading Fluency Training

As part of Iowa’s Early Literacy Implementation Plan,  All MPCSD students in K-5 are being screened for reading progress three times a year.  As a result, elementary teachers have been using data to respond to student needs.  The K-3 teachers have been focussed on reading fluency.  The teachers are designing instruction that meets the specific needs of each child.  A part of this plan has included training in LETRs.  K-3 teachers are coming together to train on five evenings in December-January.

LETRS® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional development responds to the need for high-quality literacy educators. Developed by literacy expert Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D. LETRSprovides the deep foundational knowledge necessary to understand how students learn to read, write, and spell—and why some of them struggle.

  • Is based in real-world experience and the science of reading
  • Prepares educators to diagnose why some students fail to learn to read, spell, or write
  • Provides strategies and activities that can be implemented immediately
  • Increases effectiveness of any core or supplemental program

In the picture below, teachers are working together during training in LETRs Modules 7 and 8.

  • Module 7—Teaching Phonics, Word Study, and the Alphabetic Principle
    • Focuses on the practice of effective, systematic phonics instruction and the importance of applying learned skills to reading and writing.
  • Module 8—Assessment for Prevention and Early Intervention
    • Reviews the rationale for effective early screening with fluency-based measures, and the importance of valid, reliable, and efficient assessment tools.

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Elementary Building Data Team Meetings

Elementary buildings in the Mt. Pleasant Community School District are implementing Building Level Data Teams during the 2014-15 school year.  The purpose of these teams is to oversee student achievement data and student behavioral data.  The building level team works to implement data driven responses  to student needs.  The team then monitors those solutions for effectiveness.  These teams meet twice a month as part of the Monday Morning Late Start.  Pictured below, the K-2 Van Allen MTSS Team is reviewing students groups for reading support.  MTSS stands for Multi Tiered System of Supports.  Each elementary building has established an MTSS Shut Down Period in which staff supports specific reading or math needs of students.

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Mt. Pleasant Middle School hosts First Tech Challenge Event

The  Mount Pleasant First Tech Challenge was held Saturday, December 13 at the middle school. There were 10 teams who competed at the meet including teams from Mount Pleasant Middle School (N.E.R.D.S.) and Mount Pleasant High School (Digital Destroyers).  First Tech Challenge is a robotics competition for students based on a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete as alliances against other teams. The MP event was 1 of 3 qualifying meets with the top 5 league teams moving on to compete at the regional level.

The teams representing MPCSD did very well at their home meet with the high school team placing 3rd and the middle school team placing 1st!

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MPCMS on left, MPCHS on right

The following links are to videos of both teams in action!

Team 5154 MPCHS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOTqtxyN2Oo&feature=em-share_video_user

Team 8515 MPCMS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY7lusUKCNQ&feature=em-share_video_user

MP School Improvement Advisory Committee Meets

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SIAC Facts

  • Over 50 parents/students/community members invited to be part of SIAC
  • Iowa requires schools to have a School Improvement Advisory Committee so parents and community have true input in their schools.
  • Iowa Administrative Code  281-IAC 12.8(1)(a)(3) which states, “At least annually, the SIAC makes recommendations to the Board with regard to progress achieved with annual improvement goals for the state indicators that address reading, mathematics, and science, progress achieved with other locally determined indicators, and annual improvement goals for the state indicators that address reading, mathematics, and science.”
  • The School Improvement Advisory Committee is a group of community members, parents, educators, and students who examine our school and make recommendations for improvement.
  • EVERYONE has an EQUAL voice in this process.  A student’s voice is just as important as the superintendent’s.

December School Board Teacher Recognition Awards

Shari Moeller 

FullSizeRenderShari spent several days at Harlan and several days at Lincoln assisting with the assembly of both playgrounds. She is our “master gardener” for Lincoln, also. She assists with struggling students, keyboarding, and is in attendance for activities such as carnivals, book sales, and parent night at both schools.

Heidi Huckabone and Ashlei Venghaus

Girls On The Run:

IMG_5291A program called “Girls on the Run” was brought to us by Julie Borelli, a Harlan parent.  Girls on the Run is a transformational physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade. They teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.This program inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

Julie explained the program and wanted to know if there would a teacher who would help with the club. Heidi Huckabone and Ashlei Venghaus teach 4th grade at Harlan. Ashlei had some background knowledge and the two quickly went to work. Before beginning, the teachers had to attend a training in IA City. The teachers promoted the club during lunch and in small groups during recesses. Most girls signed up with permission from parents. Some we personally invited. These teachers were great at working with all the girls. They ensured they had what they needed to participate. They met two times per week for two months to prepare them for the physical challenge  and to work on self-image. All girls had to have running buddies for the final 5K run. Heidi was able to secure the IWC girls basketball team to participate. All girls ran the 5K and finished. These teachers went above and beyond in time and efforts to make a difference with children.

YouTube Video

Ronnie Waggoner

IMG_5294Mr. Waggoner teaches two Project Lead the Way classes and computer graphics at MPCHS.  He attended a month of PLTW Boot Camps this summer very quickly after accepting our position.  Since arriving at MPCHS Ronnie has spent an incredible amount of time at school preparing for teaching and supervising the Video Production Club.  As the faculty advisor of the Video Team Mr Waggoner has attended most of our HS activities.  During that time he has trained or taught his students to record video, edit video, and conduct interviews.  He has even launched MP TV, our own You Tube Channel.  He has only been here a short time but he has quickly become a Panther.

Yesenia Sosa- 

IMG_5290Yesenia is an outstanding employee for the MP school district and for Lincoln. She is a one-on-one para educator for a fifth grade student. She also translates for conferences throughout the district. She translates newsletters, assists with many daily phone calls, and face-to-face conversations to keep our Spanish-speaking parents informed. The success of our daily dismissal routine is largely due to the kindness Yesenia displays to parents and children and to her consistence in aiding in the pick-up line. She never hesitates to do what is asked of her and to take on additional responsibilities.

Aside from her daily work load, she is also enrolled in William Penn with her goal being an ELL teacher. Her parents and grandparents are extremely proud of her as she is the first person in her large extended family to attend college. Yesenia takes care of her younger sibling and nieces every morning and evening. She is also responsible for getting her mother from work at 1:30 am.

Yesenia handles many responsibilities at the young age of 20 years. MPCSD and Lincoln should be very proud to have an employee with the work ethics and personality such as Yesenia’s.

School Board Meeting 12-8-14

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The Mt. Pleasant Community School Board met at the Mt. Pleasant Community Middle School Media Center Monday evening December 8, 2015.  The Board Agenda and notes can be found on the District Webpage:

http://www.mt-pleasant.k12.ia.us/index.php/central-office/departments/board-of-education/

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At the board meeting Laura Fernandez, Linc Davis, and Mandy Dunphy gave a presentation on the MPCMS ILC Classroom. Board members and meeting attendees were guided through an inquiry lesson on cutter ants.  The room is a result of a Classroom Redesign Grant from the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.  Mt. Pleasant has created two of these rooms at MPCMS and one at Harlan Elementary.  These classrooms are designed for learning in the 21st Century and are built around the concept of collaborative learning experiences.   MPCSD.has partnered with the University of Iowa to develop high quality instruction and engaging yet rigorous learning experiences for students.  The following is a link to video describing this partnership:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd3DDkP6uSo