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September 19, 2013

'Innovation Schools' to be implemented at Pentucket

(Continued)

This year three pilot classes, one from each area of concentration, are being offered: a class in Character Sculpting, one in Safety and Public Service and another in Movement Science. All students in the Public Service and Movement classes were just recently CPR certified, the superintendent said.

“We’re also hoping to include the elementary schools in the Innovation initiative … with a focus on International Baccalaureate (IB) and possibly a STEM-related focus on a Design and Engineering School,” Mulqueen noted after the meeting. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

He views the Innovation Schools alternative as a way to provide the kind of dynamic learning opportunities that meet his “world-class” vision for Pentucket and ensure the district remains an attractive educational option for students and families.

Another second priority strategy targets improvements to teaching and learning that integrate challenging standards, adaptive leadership skills and high levels of personal meaning.

Mulqueen contends that “all students must be able to apply — rather than simply assimilate — knowledge. Students’ successful futures depend upon their application of knowledge and refined leadership skills. They must be able to communicate, collaborate, learn independently, think strategically and think outside-the-box.”

To this end, teachers will have access to a resource called Net Texts, a 21st-century tool offering open source text, original documents, graphics and video.

Mulqueen noted that as an additional benefit, Net Texts will eventually lead to the elimination of textbooks in the classrooms and funds targeted for that expense can be reinvested elsewhere.

The other two strategic priorities are:

a three-tiered learning system that offers an appropriate level of challenge for each student

The implementation of a new peer-based educator evaluation process that empowers teachers by giving them more of a say in the decisions that impact their classrooms.

“You can’t create the future by clinging to the past. Learning in the 21st century requires us all to think differently and work together,” Mulqueen stressed.

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