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Marengo Community High School District 154

110 Franks Road Marengo, IL 60152

Phone 815-568-6511   Fax 815-568-6510


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October 2011

MCHS SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT – A NEVER ENDING PROCESS

In the past three and a half years, I have been fortunate to work with a great team of educators known as the Marengo Community High School Staff. We have been led by the board of education and Superintendent Dr. Dan Bertrand as they adopted the mission statement, “MCHS…Where Learning is Valued and Excellence in the Standard.”

On Wednesday, October 5th, five members of the AdvancED QAR team performed an external visitation at Marengo Community High School (a requirement for accreditation every five years). The Quality Assessment Review Team evaluated MCHS on seven standards:

1. Vision and Purpose

2. Governance and Leadership

3. Teaching and Learning

4. Documenting and Using Results

5. Resources and Support Systems

6. Stakeholder Communication and Relationships

7. Commitment to Continuous Improvement

The team, which consisted of educators from around the state, met with staff members, parents and students throughout the day. At the end of the day, the team gave an exit report to the administration and staff. We will receive a written report from the team in the next few weeks. This report will include several accommodations along with a few required actions. The required actions will focus on clearly communicating the vision and mission to all stakeholders and improving the AP program.

Overall, it was a very positive visit that reinforced the positive changes we have made to improve the education of the MCHS students. We will work on the ‘required actions’ over the next two years and enter another five year improvement cycle.

MCHS is also required by the state to continue to participate in the Rising Star School Improvement Process. A team of teachers and administrators will meet with a state-assigned ‘coach’ to compare MCHS policies and practices to a set of indicators of successful school programs around the nation. As our team identifies needs for improvement, goals are set and the process becomes our school improvement plan.

Again, it is great reinforcement that with many of the changes made in the last several years, we are on the right path to becoming a great school where students are challenged to think and are prepared for their futures as they graduate. As reported earlier this school year, we are excited about the improved test scores, and most importantly what those scores mean to our students (increased opportunities for college entrance, scholarships and grants). We need to continue to work together to create great opportunities for our kids.

I would like to invite parents to a Principal/Parent Coffee on Wednesday, November 2nd or Thursday, November 3rd at 7:00 a.m. in the media center. This is a great time to share ideas and ask questions about the school improvement process and discuss new initiatives at MCHS. Please RSVP to Dawn Seemann at 815-568-6511 ext 1302 if you are able to attend.

Proud to be a Marengo Indian!

Scott Shepard, Principal »

GRAPHIC NOVEL WORKSHOP

To celebrate Teen Read Week, a workshop on how to create your own graphic novel was held at MCHS on Wednesday, October 19, 2011. Graphic artist Doug Jennings explained what a graphic novel is, and how it evolved from the comic strip. Mr. Jennings also showed examples of the various types of graphic novels, and how they are created.

Students learned the basics of coming up with ideas and turning them into stories by introducing characters, conflict, action, and resolution. The students each wrote and illustrated a three-page story that they can develop into a short comic book, and eventually into a graphic novel. Handouts were also distributed with more drawing tips, and information on how to become a graphic artist. »

HOSA IS MAKING STRIDES

On Saturday, October 15th 30 HOSA members walked in the 10th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Loves Park. The team raised $734 for the American Cancer Society. This is the 4th year of participation for Marengo HOSA. Thanks to all who participated or donated! »

CHEESECAKE SALES

AFS and HOSA cheesecakes will be in on November 10th. Student sellers should pick up their orders from 1104 after school on the 10th. Customers may pay for their cake at the time of delivery. »

HOSA'S FOOD DRIVE

HOSA will be collecting non-perishable food and hygiene items and money during November in preparation for the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. On November 22nd HOSA students will be preparing and delivering food baskets to 50 Marengo/Union residents. This is a great lesson for charity, community action and leadership for these students. »

FARM CREDIT DONATES TO MARENGO FFA

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1st Farm Credit Services donated $300 to the Marengo FFA Chapter. FFA Chapters throughout the state were given the donations after members attended the Farm Progress Show in Decatur wearing a special shirt provided by 1st Farm Credit Services. The bright orange “FFA Rocks” shirts were used to promote FFA and 1st Farm Credit Services during the 3-day show.

The Marengo FFA Chapter received a $150 donation after more than 15 members attended the show, and the Sycamore Branch donated an additional $150 to the chapter

“These donations are a simple way to say ‘Thank You’ to the members for wearing our shirts,” said Mike Shane, a vice president with 1st Farm Credit Services. “Supporting FFA and its members is critical to the future of agriculture. When members attend the Farm Progress Show, they learn about the up-and-coming technology in agriculture.”

More than 700 FFA members statewide were given the T-Shirts before and during the show. Farm Credit donated more than $5,000 to 16 different FFA chapters whose members wore the shirts at the show. »

NEW IN THE MEDIA CENTER

This year, books in new formats are available in the Media Center. We now have e-books that can be read on any device with internet access. They are located in our “FollettShelf.” We have also added many new titles to our Audio book collection, with some in the new MP3-CD format. These audio books can be checked out, taken home and uploaded onto iTunes, and then downloaded onto an iPod or other MP3 player for your listening pleasure.

In addition, we have Flip video cameras that can be checked out by students or staff for video projects. Tthese cameras are very easy to use, and are compatible with our new software. Finally, the Media Center has two e-book readers that can be used in the Media Center, or checked out overnight. Any student who would like to try reading a book on an e-book reader can stop in and try one. For more information about these new offerings, just stop in the Media Center and ask Mrs. Tippins. »

HOW TO GET INTO THE BEST COLLEGE AT THE LOWEST COST

We are excited to announce Marengo High School is bringing proven, entertaining ACT© preparation to all our college-bound students: John Baylor’s Test Prep (JBTP). MCHS juniors will view several of the twelve, 45-minute sessions of the JBTP ACT Prep course in school during the first and second semester.

The ACT score is a basis for many college scholarships. The average score increase from JBTP is more than two points, an amount that can save your family thousands in college costs and improve your child’s college choices.

John Baylor will be in Marengo on October 13th and 14th to work with students, teachers and counselors during the school day. On Thursday, October 13th at 7:00 p.m. there will be a parent forum on “The ACT and How It Affects Your Student’s Future” in the MCHS auditorium. All parents of students in grades 7-12 should attend.

MCHS has seen improvement over the past five years all areas of the ACT. Our students have improved the average ACT by over 2 points in the last three years. Some students have seen 4-6 point jumps. These increases mean additional scholarships and opportunities for MCHS students. The John Baylor program has helped students and parents focus on the future and set them on a path to win the college entrance game. Please join us and learn how to get into the best college at the lowest price. »

HOMECOMING SPIRIT WEEK

By Luke Garfield, MCHS News Bureau

Many students participated in this year’s Homecoming Spirit Week. On Monday, the halls glowed with students wearing neon colors. The FANtastic Tuesday consisted of students dressed in fan-ware ranging from baseball caps to jerseys to t-shirts with pictures of fans on them. On Wednesday, the brightest colors of the rainbow beamed in every hallway, each class in its own color. Thursday left teachers and students alike spiraling back in time with the buffed up hair and crazy outfits resembling those of the 80’s. Finally, on Friday, the seniors dominated by wearing the most maroon and white. Sophomores took the lead in the dress up days, freshman came in with a close second. Seniors in third and finally Juniors with a score of five. »

PE DEPARTMENT FITNESS TESTS

Every six weeks the physical education department fitness tests all of the PE students using Fitnessgram. Their cardiovascular endurance is tested by the PACER, their muscular strength by push-ups, their muscular endurance through a curl-up test, their flexibility by the sit-n-reach, and their back flexibility through the trunk lift. Additionally we test their vertical jump and calculate their body mass index. »

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