I know – two posts in one night – But I didn’t want to put off sharing the wonderful visit I had prior to visiting Maple Grove on Friday when I was able to spend some time at Warrensburg High School with Ms. Simone Dillingham. Even at 8:00 in the morning, her enthusiasm and passion for her school came through with every word she uttered. Although there were a few areas where more funding would certainly come in handy (a new fine arts center, more science labs, and athletic fields, for example), what they have out at this facility really is very exciting. Warrensburg High School students are able to study agriculture, video production, foreign language (French and Spanish), drafting and production, and stagecraft, in addition to the more traditional subjects. The Career Center (which I will be visiting tomorrow) supports a number of classes that the high school takes advantage of as well, including a full working shop, personal finance, and web design. These are courses that will help students further themselves professionally as well as help them succeed in their personal lives.
In addition to these educational options, there are some newer facilities that are quite impressive as well. There are two fully functional computer labs, one Mac, one PC, a working Greenhouse, CAD computers, and a new auxiliary gym with a weight room and an aerobics room. There is also a distance program through WeMet, but the logistics of this program need a little support. Due to the fact that the classes are often full to capacity and beyond, and a teacher would have to be pulled from a full classroom to serve the WeMet class, it can not always be utilized to its fullest. There are a couple summer offerings of personal finance, and Plato is available for at-risk students, but there is so much more possible with this kind of program. This is something that I think should be addressed. Distance education, even at the High School level is very important. If nothing else, the ability to collaborate with other schools needs to be realized. It was clear to me that Ms. Dillingham would like to take advantage of such an opportunity if it were presented, and I hope some day I might be able to work to help make it happen!
Warrensburg High serves just under 1,000 students, with approximately 100 special needs students and a number of gifted individuals. Because I had recently seen the presentation on the gifted program that I mentioned in an earlier post, I asked Ms. Dillingham if the current method of serving gifted high school students was adequate. Her true passion for her job immediately showed as she told me about the dual credit, AP, and honors programs. She described how the university works with the students, even offering independent study when it would benefit them. She made it very clear that not only is there a very good gifted program at Warrensburg High, but that she is very proud of it. In fact, when I asked what a new Board Member could offer her, her response was communication – encourage people to ask questions of those that have the answers. There is good communication among the members of the district; I have seen numerous examples of collaboration between faculty, administrators, and schools, but communication between the parents and the schools could probably be improved. I have seen this myself, and my questions to Ms. Dillingham about the gifted students was a very good example how miscommunication can happen.
In closing tonight, I want to reiterate one of my primary goals – building an maintaining communication – I hope to keep this avenue open right here, with Positive Connections. We may not always like what we hear, but we like not hearing a lot less!