The maze reminded me of how our education system often works. We look for solutions by heading in new directions and by seeking out innovative ideas, often only to find ourselves at a dead end or back to where we started. We tried the PARCC and Common Core trail, which led to new teacher and principal evaluation systems. Along the way we added the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, Rimp plans, College Credit Plus and more.
Some of these paths lead us to a better place and some don’t, but in spite of the mandates that lead us to the quest for a new path or better way, Mount Vernon City Schools remain focused on the basics and ask: "where are we?, where do we want to be?, and what we need to do to get there?."
We have invested in building the foundation for our own type of observation stand by implementing all-day/everyday kindergarten and adding elementary reading tutors to improve literacy. We have targeted our resources towards new textbooks in the crucial subject areas of English and Math. We strengthened our commitment to gifted education, and kept our focus on Quality Instruction. We are in the process of securing the skills and expertise of elementary school social workers to help meet the needs of the whole child.
As we left the farm, we let each of our granddaughters choose a pumpkin to take home. It was fun to notice that they each selected very different pumpkins. One was short and plump with a small stem while the other was tall and skinny with distinct markings. Seen through the eyes of each little girl, her pumpkin was beautiful!
Just as we each see things through our own lens, we also learn in different ways. Trying to teach every child by using the same methods doesn’t work. It is up to us to find out how we can best reach each student. We may need to adapt and offer new and unique ways for our kids if we are going to help them succeed.
The Mount Vernon School District is on a mission to make learning more relevant for every student and to improve our graduation rates. We are only successful when all of our students, enjoy the benefits of a quality education. The future of our district depends on us being able to find new and innovative ways to provide greater educational opportunities for all students. And we will.