News for the Week of November 25, 2013
(Click Links Below for More Information.)
To contact us click here.
1. Superintendent's Newsletter
2. Music at Helena Middle School Goes Beyond Band, Choir, and Orchestra
3. SMA Report - Central School - Renovate vs. Rebuild
4. Cropper GIS Develops Mapping Tool
5. CLICK HERE to Access School Facility Reports
6. Educational Planning ~ Community Presentations
7. Helena Education / Facility Planning Web Site - Ed Planning Presentation
Every Minute Counts
December 2, 2013
Every minute counts. Educators across the District know this more than anyone. Days quickly slip into weeks, weeks slip into quarters, quarters slip into semesters, and before we know it, the year has flown by. The stakes are high as the world we live in continues to demand more of each of us which in turn sets the expectations of all students at an all-time high. Students must graduate as critical thinkers with a solid foundation so they will be career and college ready. Every minute does count and we must ensure that each student and teacher alike is prepared to maximize that time as the district has stated - one year of teaching equals one year of learning.
There are four cornerstones that ensure the quality of each minute of our children’s education. Although this list is not totally inclusive, it does recognize the complexity of public education and the commitment to the future through our students.
- At the foundation of each minute is a quality educator. The Helena School District is committed to recruit and retain the best educators and staff. Coupled with having the best educators is professional development to ensure they are growing and evolving with best practices and strategies.
- To state the obvious, the second cornerstone is the student. As mentioned in earlier articles we must provide an environment that eliminates barriers or obstacles so that each student can focus on learning. Whether it is ensuring attendance or a safe environment, the ability of each student to concentrate on the task at hand is essential to the learning process.
- The third cornerstone is educational resources. From technology to curriculum we must have the tools necessary to meet the needs of our students. The District acknowledges the necessity of educational resources and is committed to providing them consistently across all schools.
- Last, but not least, is the partnership we have with our parents and community. This partnership cannot be taken for granted. As we strive to make each minute count, the parent and supportive community who value education is the partnership that is truly an equal cornerstone in the daily activities at each school.
So each minute is important and to maintain this outlook we must continually look to see how we can enhance the time spent with our students. From having the best prepared educators to research-proven learning strategies, all must work together for the common goal of graduation with career and college readiness.
Kent Kultgen, Ed.D.
Music at Helena Middle School Goes Beyond Band, Choir and Orchestra
Not all students aspire to perform in a choir, band or orchestra. Some students want to learn and experience music without preparing for a performance.
Helena educators are well aware of this and have responded appropriately. A new course at Helena Middle School, developed from a model in place at C.R. Anderson, provides the opportunity that many students are taking advantage of and enjoying.
The music technology class provides opportunity for career exploration in the music industry, creating sound and recording, learning about instruments and music styles from around the world, theory, song writing and music competition.
Teacher, Tyson Reiter, said the idea was to provide a class for those students who don’t want to be in performance assemblies. “I wanted to give kids a choice to be involved in music without rehearsal to perform for a concert,” he said.
Principal, Josh McKay said the class is a big hit with students because it provides access to music education in a relevant way. They are eager to take the class for the content and are quickly inspired by Reiter’s enthusiasm for the subject matter and his ability to reach students, McKay added.
The class is an opportunity for music exploration beyond notes, lyrics, and rhythm. Reiter says he hopes students gain a greater appreciation for music through their classroom experiences.
“It’s more than just playing an instrument and singing,” he said. “There are many ways to be involved.”
It’s a music class that’s technology based, which in today’s digital environment captures the attention of teenagers easily. Students improve their knowledge of music and expand their computer skills through learning software applications.
Reiter said there are huge benefits in taking music classes for all students.
“It’s great for all kids at any age, at any time,” he said. “It makes them more well-rounded learners, helps with mathematics, and critical thinking.”
And, he is right. Scientific research has shown that studying music has many rewards even beyond academia to dealing with emotional traumas and biologically and neurologically fine tunes the brain as we age.
The Helena School District supports these opportunities for young people and last year trustees renewed the Fine Arts Curriculum. Music technology is a year-long class available to students in the eighth-grade.
HMS Teacher Tyson Reiter works with a student in music technology class on a video recording recently. Reiter said the class provides music education for students who don't want to be in performance assemblies.