The Leland Experience

What does LPS Value?

March 25, 2013
Volume I: No. 2
By Jason Stowe, Superintendent
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Educating children is an incredibly important and challenging undertaking.  Start by teaching five year olds how to take turns and get along with others, end with preparing graduating seniors for “the real world”, and you have taken on a daunting task.  While this may seem overwhelming, the educators at LPS are more than up to the job. One problem our society has is defining exactly what the task of educating our children is. What are the most important skills that we want our children to walk away with after high school graduation?  In the state of Michigan there is a great deal of emphasis placed on standardized testing and scores: most specifically, the MEAP assessment, which is required to be given at every grade level beginning in the 3rdgrade.   In the field of education, teachers commonly look to assessments like the MEAP, SAT, and ACT for indications of student success.  The SAT and ACT are highly regarded tests that most students take in their junior year of high school and  are universally used in the United States for college entrance.  The MEAP, however, does not take on that same distinction.  It is a content-based test that changes from year to year.  The test is inconsistent; it is a poor indicator of student achievement, and we often wait four to six months to receive our students’ results.At Leland Public School, we have a long and rich history of preparing our students for “the real world”.  Last week in Washington D.C., I had the privilege of listening to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speak to our group of Impact Aid representatives.  Secretary Duncan pointed out that our schools should be focusing on three main areas:

  • implementing the Common Core State Standards
  • increasing funds for early childhood education
  • making sure that our children are career and college ready.

At LPS, this is exactly what we are trying to do.  Our teaching staff and Principal Charlie Gann have worked extremely hard over the past two years to implement our state’s Common Core Curriculum across all grade levels.  Doing so aligns us with national standards and allows us to now spend more time on instruction.  Developing lessons that utilize technology to leverage information, creating opportunities for students to analyze data, writing critically about current events and engaging in meaningful conversations is where our focus needs to be.

Colleges across the nation are seeking out students who have more to offer that high test scores.  During a recent interview, Harvard Dean of Admissions William R. Fitzsimmons was asked about the criteria for being accepted there. He stated:

While we value objective criteria, we apply a more expansive view of excellence. Test scores and grades offer some indication of students’ academic promise and achievement. But we also scrutinize applications for extracurricular distinction and personal qualities.  Students’ intellectual imagination, strength of character, and their ability to exercise good judgment — these are critical factors in the admissions process, and they are revealed not by test scores but by students’ activities outside the classroom, the testimony of teachers and guidance counselors, and staff interview reports.  With these aspects — academic excellence, extracurricular distinction, and personal qualities — in mind, we read with care all the components of each application.”

Education should be an integrated and hands-on experience and I have a great deal of confidence in our staff and system at Leland Public School.   We want our students fully engaged in their education and to become life-long learners.  In order to do this we must foster creativity, create opportunities for students to be thoughtful, and offer students a multitude of learning experiences, both in and out of the classroom.  Although the MEAP assessment is required by the state and is often given major emphasis in the media, we know that it is just one of many indicators of a child’s educational progress.  Our teachers know your children inside and out, and they are the ones parents should look to for indicators of student struggles and success.  We want all students at Leland Public School to be successful in whatever endeavor they pursue, and I know that our staff is up to the challenge of providing an enriching and unique education for your children.

 

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