MOUNTAIN PARK — The Surry County Board of Education approved a proposal Monday night to make Meadowview Middle School into a magnet school. Consensus at the meeting centered on the step being another to add more student educational opportunities at an earlier level.
Traditionally, magnet schools are free public elementary and secondary schools organized around a focused theme and aligned curriculum such as Science, Technology and Engineering (STEM).
“Many of the enrichment areas offered would allow students to get high school credit,” said Mosley. She told the board the school could be remade without having to increase current faculty and that qualified teachers within the system can meet the requirements of the magnet school.
According to presenters Assistant Superintendent Dr. Terri Mosley, Meadowview Principal Denny Barr, Meadowview Assistant principal Heather Horton and Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Jill Reinhardt, the school motto for the proposed school is “Hands-On, Minds-On.” It will be called Meadowview Magnet Middle School.
Barr explained his faculty and staff had already offered enrichment courses at the school as a trial run for the magnet school classes where teachers will educate with a more intense team approach.
“Teachers will be in a different structure,” said Mosley. “Class sizes will remain small with from four to five teachers with 75 students.” The proposal calls for the magnet school to be implemented next year with current Meadowview students guaranteed to remain enrolled there at the school for the first year.
Board member Sue Stone said she found the concept exciting and liked the restructuring having all of the math teachers, for instance, working together as a team and felt it would be “a wonderful way to personalize education for students.”
“We think we have a good plan for implementing this,” said Reinhardt. “With you approval of course, we are excited and ready to move on with this.”
Mosley said the faculty and staff will personalize instruction to meet the individual needs of all students as they progress at their own pace through content based on their interests, readiness, and learning styles.
The presenters agreed the school will offer art and athletics as well. After a brief discussion, all appeared to agree magnet school students would be eligible to advance to their regular high schools after completing the magnet school. It was agreed school cohesion would be better served by having students participate on magnet school teams.
Mosley said science standards will include earth science strands from high school curriculum, the possibility of earning earth science credit and math standards will be compacted and accelerated for students who are ready with the possibility of earning Math I credit.
Enhancements to “Project Lead the Way” which could be used at the magnet school will also include acceleration in core academic areas (English Language Arts, social studies). The group indicated English standards will be compacted and accelerated for students who are ready with a possibility of earning English I credit. Academic competitions and enrichment opportunities for all students could include robotics, math counts, science Olympiad, Battle of the Books School of the Future Design Competition, Gravity Games, E Cyber Missions, Geography Bee, Music Technology, Stock Market Challenge and a Sustainable Transportation Education Program (STEP).
Mosley said the student day for the school would run from 8:15 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. and the teacher day would run from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with teachers working in teams to plan and deliver instruction and to develop personalized student instruction.
Magnet School Enrollment for 2014-2015 from Outside of District could include 20 sixth grade students, 20 seventh grade students and from 20-25 eighth grade students with room for more eighth graders in this class. Mosley told the board the Central District will have 8 slots, five slots for Gentry District and seven for Pilot District.
Mosley said slots not filled from a district revert to other districts and Home school and charter school applicants apply from the district of residence. She added that Mount Airy and or Elkin students require a release from their districts but priority would be given to county students.
In other action, School Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves announced Surry County Schools Employee for February is Administrative Assistant Rene Moore, who works in the system’s central office.
He apologized to Moore for the announcement being held up by bad weather and told the audience “the first thing most notice is how sharp she is.” Reeves complemented Moore on her assisting with media coordination and being a great planner and organizer of events. Moore received a $50 gift certificate from Simmons Nissan for the honor.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.