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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Halls of 709: Curriculum focus of meeting

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  • Are you wondering what’s happening with discussions about all-day Kindergarten?  Are you curious how our high school students are guided and counseled on course selection throughout their four years at MHS?  How has high school curriculum changed in the past several decades, and how do we appropriately and rigorously prepare our kids to compete after they graduate? How has technology changed the landscape in regard to how District 709 carries out our mission? On Thursday evening, Nov. 1, the stakeholders of the Morton 709 School District will once again have an amazing opportunity to participate in our 709Connect Community Engagement initiative.  The topic on this evening will be “Books:  Kindergarten to Careers”—the focus being on curriculum.  The specific topics addressed were gathered through feedback from attendees at our Aug. 9 and Aug. 30 meetings.  
     
    “Curriculum” is an incredibly broad subject area to address in a short period of time.  The two hours set aside on our evenings for 709Connect cannot do justice to what really is the most important piece of public schools—what we teach, which is arguably the essential “business” of a public school district.  We have managed to “slim down” this topic, with feedback from all of you, to what has been pinpointed as the most pertinent and important issues that are out there for our constituents. Please keep in mind that each topic we will address on the evening of Nov. 1 could easily be an hour long presentation in and of itself.  We invite you to listen to our experts in the field, and then participate in our group tasks.  The consensual answers provided by each group then guide the recommendations to be shared with our Board of Education on Dec. 11.  
     
    What has been identified as the most pressing issues in Morton 709 in regard to curriculum/programs/instruction?  Here is a brief preview of what we’ll be discussing on November 1:
     
    • Dr. Troy Teater, Director of Research and Information Systems, will provide an overview of the advances in technology our district has seen over the past several years.  This includes not only instructional technology, but how we communicate, how we manage data and how we assess our students.  
     
    • Kindergarten:  half day vs. full day.  What would be best for District 709?  History, challenges, research and learning data will be shared by Dr. Troy Teater.
     
    • High School Scheduling:  Ms. Marjorie Johnson, Principal of Morton High School, will discuss increasing graduation requirements and the choices our high school students must make during high school in order to fully prepare for either career or college plans after graduation.  
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    • Changes in Career and Technical Education:  (“CTE”—sometimes referred to as Vocational Education)  An overview of the changing landscape of choices and options our high school students have during and after high school will be given by Mr. Craig Smock, Assistant Superintendent.  Data and valuable information will be shared about the academic and non-academic skills required of our graduates regardless of what career or college path they choose.  
     
    After our district administrators speak, table groups will be charged with various tasks related to the above topics, so we can hear ideas, suggestions, concerns and also to answer your questions.  I cannot emphasize how important the community’s participation is in this planning process for the future of District 709.  We hope to see you there and top all previous attendance records!
     
    We will, once again, offer child care, free of charge at our Nov. 1 709Connect session.  This service is graciously being provided through the Morton Education Association, as well as some of our very well qualified students.  Thank you!
     
    In closing, our community members, students, parents and employees deserve a word of “THANKS!!”  The Morton 709 School District is an outstanding organization—this statement is supported through awards, accolades, accomplishments, test scores, parental involvement and the pride that is exuded about our schools.
     
    This is due to the commitment and involvement of the groups of people mentioned above.  Your attendance at 709Connect requires your time and your effort—please know that this is noticed and appreciated.  The input and feedback you provide or have provided will contribute to the planning that will guide the Morton Schools to new heights in the future.  I look forward to seeing you on the evening of Nov. 1 to discuss “Kindergarten to Careers”. 
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