Our North Mason schools are not the schools of twenty years ago—or even ten. Our schools are in the midst of creative change and innovation. The changes in our schools encompass the range of our mission from our communication with parents, coordinating courses within and between our schools, teacher professional development and designing our new high school to promote student learning.
Communicating with Parents
In addition to our award-winning website soon parents will have an additional way to stay current with the progress of their kids: the NMSD app. The app will enable parents with smart phones or Android devices to organize their school information in one place. “Push notifications” can alert parents to a low balance with food service or low grades or to weather alerts or other emergencies. Too much information? Parents can customize the app to receive just the information they need.
Coordinating Curricula & Teacher Preparation
For teachers to be effective, they must not only be current and well-prepared, but their courses must cohere and link with those at the next level. Kristen Sheridan, Principal at Sand Hill, and Julie Wasserburger, Principal at Belfair Elementary, are collaborating to make sure that each class at their respective schools will not only cover a core set of concepts and skills but will prepare the student for more advanced work.
Their collaboration also ensures that should a student transfer from one school to the other the courses will synchronize thus smoothing the student’s transition. Since they have also coordinated their courses with first year courses at Hawkins Middle School, their students should be well prepared to advance.
To enable teachers to be proficient and current in their field Kristen and Julie are also promoting collaborative professional development among their teaching staff. Each week at each school teachers study and discuss new research-based approaches to education and share their own best practices.
North Mason High School: Design for Success
Modes of information delivery are changing so rapidly that, soon, digital and mobile platforms for textbooks will be the norm. To give our kids access to these constantly updated resources our new high school will have the electronic informational infrastructure (the power, bandwidth and network capabilities) to support them. One example of a built-in design for learning is interactive whiteboards. Whiteboards (a kind of wall-computer) provide teachers unprecedented visualizing capacities and enable them to capture and stimulate class discussion and interaction.
Our new auditorium will help us blend science and the humanities by allowing us to offer courses such as Stage Craft that connect electrical engineering and art.
Our new building will also have a low-tech feature much needed at our old high-school: built-in spaces designed for small groups, large groups or individual instruction.
These are but a few of the exciting and upcoming changes now taking place in our schools.
Director, District 4