By John McLoone The Hastings School Board heard a report Oct. 27 on a review underway on Hastings Middle School programing. Staff and families will be surveyed on middle school offerings and …
By John McLoone
The Hastings School Board heard a report Oct. 27 on a review underway on Hastings Middle School programing. Staff and families will be surveyed on middle school offerings and secondary education scheduling to make sure students are prepared when the graduate to Hastings High School.
“This is something that’s really exciting for us when you think of the community coming together,” said Director of Teaching and Learning Rachel Larson. “We have the opportunity right now to look at our middle and high school and say ‘How are we meeting our needs?’” She said the culmination of the process will “offer more voice and choice for students.”
“We’re anchoring it in the core values we have,” said Larson “This gives us the opportunity to be very intentional in everything we do for our students. What are the things students love that we want to continue with and what things do we want to do in a different way?”
Input will be received from staff, students and community members in the process, which kicked off last week in the “information” phase. Group meetings with families will be held on “the middle school experience,” said Larson, who was joined in the presentation by Middle School Principal Steve Kovach.
Kovach said that one thing that will be studied is equity of programing and helping out students “that may face barriers in our system.”
The process schedule for looking at the middle school programing is to “Develop Middle School Programmatic Review Team” and a “Guiding Change Process” in October, according to information provided to the school board. Surveying will be done in November and “middle school best practices” will be developed. Focus group meetings will be held. In December, information will be analyzed and the results – termed “points of pride and opportunities for improvement” – will be presented to the school board.
On the secondary education side, scheduling is being studied and staff coaching will be held at sessions in November and December.
“Everyone is really excited about this,” said Larson.
A presentation of results from the process is scheduled for a December board meeting.
“When you come back to us in December, what do you expect success will look like?” asked board member Scott Gergen. “What is any roadblocks do you have right now to starting this?”
Replied Kovach, “I think a big measure of success will be that programatic review team being in a place where we would be a lot more clear or what the feedback is from our focus groups.”
He said that it’s unique that Hastings is looking at the middle school programs and high school scheduling in the same process.
“I’m pretty excited. The three districts I’ve been at in my career, I’ve never been in the same room as the high school as far as planning,” said Kovach. “Are we doing the things we need for our kids to get them ready for high school? We can have some pretty high-level conversations.”
Added Larson, “I’m excited to hear what those points of pride are, what are we really offering and what does that tell us.”
“This is great,” said board member Brian Davis. “It’s a long time coming.”