Superintendent Message, June 2016
The 2015 – 2016 school year will soon be a memory and part of Menominee Area Public Schools’ history. It has been a busy, exciting and challenging year of change for all of us.
As I complete my second year as superintendent, it has been a time of reflection. Menominee teachers, staff, administrators and the Board of Education continue to be hard-working, dedicated Maroons who put kids first. They continue to weather declining enrollment, inadequate funding from the State of Michigan, and many other financial challenges so that all Menominee students can receive a high quality, well-rounded education that will give our students opportunities to meet their goals as 21st Century learners.
We are addressing gaps in learning, instructional practices and other roadblocks that have caused our students to perform less than what we know they are capable of on State and local assessments. I am confident that the changes that we have made in professional development and school improvement where the change is teacher-driven and supported by administrators is making a real difference in how we educate our kids and how they respond to our collaboration and innovation.
Before the 2016 – 2017 school year begins, we have a great deal of work to accomplish. We have begun Phase Two of the Sinking Fund – thanks to the community for their generous support to improve our buildings, which, in turn, improves our students’ learning environment. [NOTE: Please see the hand-out on Phase Two and the PowerPoint created by OHM that explains, in detail, what we have already accomplished and what we will complete by fall, 2016 that is posted on our website.] We also have to close out the budget for 2015 – 2016 and present a balanced budget to the State of Michigan by June 30, 2016 for the 2016 – 2017 school year.
Thanks to our students, parents, teachers, support staff, administrators, Board of Education and YOU, the community, for making our school district the heart of Menominee. We look forward to welcoming new families that want MAPS to be their schools of choice and to continue to make our current students feel welcome, safe and secure. Together we can tell our story about why MAPS is a great place for kids.
I would like to ask everyone to commit to three things for the 2016 – 2017 school year:
Shift your attention to the positive – especially in public – of why being a Maroon is a reason to be proud.
Share a positive story with your personal network – family, friends, neighbors, business owners, etc. It’s amazing how good people feel about the school their child attends when they hear positive stories in the community and in the media.
And, finally, make it a habit to share your stories – keep track of your progress. The more we hear from people ways that our students are experiencing success, the more we will continue to make those positive experiences grow.
Last fall, we had the privilege of hearing Dr. John Draper speak on “Crucial Conversations about America’s Schools”. One of the things he stresses is, “Miracles happen every day in public schools”. He encourages everyone to “Think and Talk About What You Believe”: every child deserves a quality education regardless of parents or location; standardized tests are just one measure of learning – creativity, self-discipline, persistence, imagination, enthusiasm are equally important; all children can learn – but at different rates and with different strengths; and the overwhelming majority of educators are good people who care about children.
“Teaching is a job – but saving lives through education is a mission.” Dr. John Draper
Best wishes to the Class of 2016. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time at Menominee Area Public Schools and that we’ve helped you get off to a great start for the next exciting stage of your life.
Finally, I want to say “thank you” to Mike Cattani, Sharon and John Karasti, Peter Austad, Mary Theis and Karen Nesbitt who are retiring after remarkable careers in education. Also, best wishes to those who are leaving to take on new challenges in education and in their personal lives. Thank you for everything you have done for Menominee kids. All of these educators should be proud of the difference they have made in students’ lives. They will be missed.
Finally, thank you for your commitment to education. In the coming months, we will ask for your help in making decisions about continued improvement of our school buildings, grounds, fine arts and athletic facilities; how we fund technology to help our students and staff stay current; learning about the kind of technology the community and students/parents have access to at home; and understanding the needs of all of our students so we can make good decisions about programming. This is your district and we want to hear from you.
Dr. Terri T. Mileski