Friday, August 14, 2015

Making History

As the students filled the hallways and teachers worked endlessly to get ready for their return, I found myself excited and anxious for another school year to begin. It’s great to see the faces of our returning students as well as meeting the new students that have joined the MHS family.

I began to reflect on years past at Magnolia Heights and where we are now as a school. We continue to grow and enhance the learning experience to reach every child’s needs. Through our advancements in technology, to our differentiated instruction, our students are being prepared academically, morally, physically, and spiritually for the road that lies ahead.

We are in the final phases of completing the implementation of our 1:1 program (iMHS) and students and faculty are eagerly embracing the technology. All students in grades 7-12 now have MacBooks and are utilizing tools such as CANVAS (LMS), online textbooks, and other great teaching apps. Students in Kindergarten through 4th grade now have access to an iPad cart. Through funds raised by our Parents’ Club and other generous donors, we were able to add four new iPad carts for the elementary grades.  The 5th and 6th grade classes are now utilizing MacBook carts, one for each grade. In an effort to better prepare our elementary students for the technology they will be using in the future, we are teaching typing in grades 1-3 (previously taught in the 7th and 8th grades) and transitioning the Chromebooks (previously located in the 5th and 6th grade classrooms) to the elementary computer lab. We are continually amazed at their ability and skills in using technology to further their education.

We have also been fortunate to make upgrades and improvements to our school campus during the last year. You will notice new LED lighting throughout the entire campus, new HVAC units to provide more energy efficient heating and air to our oldest classrooms, an upgraded security system, and infrastructure improvements and enhancements to keep our campus safe along with many other improvements. We have also begun our multi-year plan to repave the entire campus.

Through a generous grant from Entergy and donations from the Parents’ Club, we have been able to implement a STEM class for our secondary students and a robotics class for elementary grades. It is so exciting to see our students participating and learning to explore the areas of robotics, science, and engineering. 

We had a great night at Meet the Chiefs where we were introduced to our fall athletes and coaches. Girls soccer and softball are both underway and looking better than ever. Our football teams have been working hard in the August heat and are ready to “Defend the Hill,” while the cheerleaders keep everybody excited for the seasons ahead. We encourage everyone to come out and catch a few games this season to support our Chiefs!
As we settle into our new routines and find our calendars full again, I am excited to see what the year will hold. In the coming months, we will be preparing for our SACS/SAIS dual accreditation visit coming in October. I’ll share more details of our SACS/SAIS School Improvement Plan that will guide us over the next five years at a later date. With our wonderful students, parents, teachers, and administrators, I know we have the opportunity to “make history”.  After all, we are not just a school, but a family. #NJASAF