A good portion of the evening centered on academics with updates from Mrs. Watt, Mr. York, Mrs. Wilcox, Mr. Wagner, Mr. Gordon and Mrs. Mills. From the feedback received during the evening and my own opinion, they provided helpful, realistic, and optimistic insights concerning vision, plans, opportunities and success. Here are some highlights:
- Mission is to Train and Equip students for learning and for life, for now and for the future
- we do this by providing the needed knowledge, skills, habits, experiences
- We intend to do this by combining content area experts, teaching skills, biblical integration, assessment, continuous professional development
- This year’s focus will include reviewing all curriculum guides through the accreditation process, putting all teachers on a plan aimed at creating master teachers, intensive review of English, review and assessment of spiritual formation effectiveness (Bible classes and chapel). We will also review Science curriculum this year.
- We are using outside assessment to help us improve (Mr. York, Mr. Dale Hanson, Mid-America Nazarene University, and ACSI accreditation teams). MNU will observe in our classrooms and can provide recommendation/training on conducting classroom observations, teacher evaluation, teaching skills, and a variety of other PD topics.
- The Bible Department’s focus is on teaching students to know what they believe, why they believe it, and how they can know that it is true so that they can stand firm in the truth
- Students not only study Scripture, they learn how to study it so that they can continue it on their own and after they graduate
- Memorization and application are key components of the educational process.
- Mr. Wagner mentioned three keys for young people to remain faithful (and for their parents to focus on)
- Genuine conversion (know the condition of your child’s heart)
- Regular attendance at a youth group (that is not based on entertainment or seeker friendliness, but on discipleship and studying the Bible)
- Regularly being ‘witnessed to’ by their parents (parents model, discuss and teach the Bible to their kids – it’s core to their relationship with each other and core to how their family lives daily life)
- The English Department is relatively new to MCA – none of them were at MCA 5 years ago however they have over 50 years of English teaching experience
- English includes writing, grammar, vocabulary and literature (a lot to master within one course)
- Goals are for students to write very well, become critical thinkers of what they read, and to communicate effectively
- We are in the process of revitalizing this department through renewed focus on college-level writing skills, rules of grammar, accountability for writing (making revisions), new grammar texts for 10th and 12th grades, using proven supplementary tools/texts that have been shown to help students prepare for college and ACT tests
- This year’s group of seniors who have already taken the ACT have an average score of 26 in the English area (which is a strong score for an ‘average’) with some scoring over 30.
Mr. York spoke for Ms. Westerfeld concerning Spanish
- Junior High
- Introduction to concepts, vocabulary, basic rules of grammar
- Learn to introduce self, report time, describe weather, recognize common words and phrases
- Spanish I
- Strong focus on vocab and grammar
- Parts of speech – nouns and verbs
- Basic conversation and translations
- Become functional through recognizing words and phrases
- Cover more content and more in-depth than area schools, we seem to run up to ½ year ahead compared to the schools around us based on feedback from incoming students and students who graduate or leave MCA
- Strong focus on vocab and grammar
- Spanish II
- Continues Spanish I concepts, more writing and conversational speaking, hearing and translating longer passages, writing
- More learning on culture
- Also seems to run about ½ year ahead of other schools
- Miss Westerfeld has completed 11 college Spanish classes (33 hours of Spanish) including literature, history, culture, phonetics. She is an alum of MCA
Mr. Gordon and Mrs. Mills
- No student will have to take a step backward in music when enrolling at MCA, they will be very well prepared to do well in music in college and beyond as we know that music is a ‘life sport’
- Students learn skills, learn theory, and get lots and lots or practice
- We have an Elementary select choir of upper Elementary students. The Junior High vocal music program allows for continuity and unified vision from early Elementary through High School.
- Expanded curriculum in last 5 years
- Students learn music theory. They don’t just participate in music but learn to build and create music, to appreciate various types and to critique
- Our choirs compete, perform and present well and our band does concerts, competitions, and parades
- We have taken choirs to CO, CA, and FL and the band to NYC and DC.
- We have a variety of methods to be involved: marching band, barber shop quartet, jazz band, performance band
- Reputation for excellence in each of these have been affirmed with number 1 ratings at competitions, invitations to perform at the State Band Convention, university scholarships for band students, and success of students in college.
Great teachers with a good plan and good leadership leads to great opportunities for kids to excel and succeed.