Projects that Increase Student Engagment (Element 1)
Implement "My Voices" Survey to Positively Enhance Student Culture
Goal: Middle and high school students will participate in a survey focused on school climate and culture. The survey is designed to help educators understand how comfortable, connected and supported students feel in each school, and then adjust programs and teaching methods to create an environment more supportive of students' needs.
Progress: Arrangements have been made with the Montana Office of Public Instruction to administer the survey to grades 6-12 in middle and high schools in february 2012. Willard and Seeley-Swan schools have piloted this project, having administered the survey twice previously to students.
Implement a K-12 International Baccalaureate Programme
Hellgate High School will be the first MCPS school to launch an IB programme in fall 2012, and it will be only the second program in a public school in the State of Montana. In ensuing years, programs will expand into the elementary and middle school levels. This rigorous program engages students through global and international studies, robust deliberation and community service learning.
Implement K-12 Themed Academies
A Health Science Academy will be initiated at Big Sky High School in fall 2012, the first academic academy in the State of Montana, with additional academies at each of the urban high schools planned for implementation by fall 2014. Career academies provide opportunities for students to learn in small learning communities, through a hands-on and project-based approach. Small learning communities, where groups of students share the same cadre of core subject teachers, provide opportunites for closer student and teacher interaction. Thematic-based small learning communities have proven to increase attendance anywhere from three to 15 days per year and decrease dropout rates by three to six percent.
Implement K-12 Language Immersion Programs
Two-way language immersion provides opportunities for students to learn to think, read and write naturally in two languages simultaneously. Students develop dual language proficiency with respect and understanding for global cultures, rigorous academic achievement, and creating career and educational opportunities beyond the K-12 system. A dual language immersion strand in each school building, K-12, will provide opportunities to enrich the community and students' academic outcomes.
Implement Capstone Projects in Grades 5, 8 and 12
In grades 5, 8 and 12, students will prepare and plan an intensive, active learning project that aligns with their personal or career interests, and is supported by several courses. Each student will present a final product that represents their “capstone project” during their senior year.
Implement District-wide Robotics Electronics Program
Students in MCPS high schools and middle schools will have an opportunity to complete in robotics competitions throughout the region beginning in winter and spring 2012. Students can use science and engineering skills to design and construct a robot for competition. In addition, business and communications skills are used to develop a program budget, raise funds and collaborate to make decisions.
Develop a website "hub" to support student and community engagement
MCPS, in partnership the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, is developing a website that will connect high school students with available internships, job shadows and volunteer opportunities in the community. In addition, businesses and local professionals will be able to register on the website to provide these experiences and other resources to educators. The site will serve as a a digital “hub” for connecting and engaging students and educators with local businesses and community experts.