“Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” sums up the motivation for a new initiative implemented in the Ogilvie School District. The goal of the Ogilvie Advocacy Program was to make a sincere effort to let grades 5-12 students know their teachers supported them beyond academics and the classroom. Teachers embraced the program and administrators strongly supported it.
Pictured at right: MREA President-Elect Chris Mills (left) and President Mike Vasek (center), present the 2014 Exemplary Program Award to Ogilvie Principal Suzanne Davis (right).
Students benefitted in numerous ways through the 30-minute weekly meetings devoted to the anti-bullying curriculum, team building, community service projects and other special activities developed by the students. At the end of the school year, almost 80 percent of the students completed a survey, with the overwhelming majority citing only positive benefits such as they liked getting to know more kids and they learned their teacher really cared about them. The meetings helped them develop a closer bond with peers and a greater sense of citizenship and civic duty.
Unlike a typical homeroom, the advocacy group size was limited to 10-12 students, and the students and teachers will stay together for several years. Group formation was purposeful, with teachers identifying students with whom they already had a positive connection and considering individual students’ needs, strengths and personalities.
The program cost time and commitment to create schedules, design activities, determine goals and promote the program. But the gains to students cited by teachers – compassion, leadership, reliability, empathy, courage, self-discipline, curiosity, resilience, and enthusiasm – were a successful approach to making a difference for their students.
ST. CLAIR SCHOOLS
High Step Academy
St. Clair’s High-STEP Academy is a partnership between secondary and post-secondary education, business, and community to provide high school students with health science coursework and work experiences, preparing them for health science and technology careers.
A regional clinic provides staff, supervision, equipment and clinical settings to foster applied education which cannot be duplicated in a classroom or typical educational setting. St. Clair was the second such program to be developed in the state and has now helped other schools to create their own Academies with emphasis on Agri-Science, Information Technology, and Mechatronics Academy.
KINGSLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Project Lead the Way: K-12 STEM PROGRAM
Kingsland Public Schools wanted to decrease gaps in their students’ science achievement, particularly in regards to socioeconomic status and gender representation. Before implementing their Project Lead the Way (PLTW) K-12 STEM Program, less than 30 percent of female students were taking advanced science and engineering courses, and more than 90 percent off free- and reduced-lunch students did not have consistent access to technology outside of the classroom. A grant was written in 2010 to implement PLTW education.
Pictured at right: MREA President Mike Vasek (left) and President-Elect Chris Mills (right), present the Honorable Mention Award to Bruce Rohne with Kingsland Public Schools (center).
After 3 years of hard work, Kingsland last year provided all K-12 students with daily computer device and Internet access. They achieved 100 percent of their female students K-9 engaging in PLTW STEM education last year, and 47 percent of their students (50 percent female) earned college credit.
Kingsland was selected in June 2014 as 1 of 23 schools nationwide to pilot the second set of PLTW’s K-5 STEM curriculum.