“Striving for (21st Century) excellence, one student at a time …”
Dear Millersburg Community:
The 2016-2017 school year marks my 19th year in public education in Pennsylvania. Much has changed in public education during this time, yet much remains the same. During my tenure as an itinerant emotional support teacher, I experienced several professional challenges, changes and opportunities: students; colleagues; and building-level leadership. Through perseverance, continued learning, commitment and determination, my students and I made progress. I expect the same in MASD in 2016-2017.
So much has changed in education since that first in-service day in 1998. I started my career in a converted closet that housed the building’s wireless servers! The room was large enough to fit two teachers’ desks, a bookshelf, a desktop computer and a kidney-shaped table for small group instruction. I wrote on a chalkboard and used the district-issued laptop computer mostly for paperwork. The students used the chalkboard in moderation and utilized the computer, more often than not, as a reward for positive behavior. Today's classroom teachers in MASD have SMART Boards, Chromebooks, iPads, (and space too!), and other electronic devices at their fingertips to facilitate engaging and content-rich instruction.
Have you ever wondered what jobs will exist in 2027? 2037? 2050? As educators, our focus is to prepare students for the present (the world we know today) as well as the future (the world they will work in). We must provide our students with the skills and abilities necessary to be productive and responsible citizens in the 21st century. Technology is a tool that assists teachers in facilitating instruction that supports the skills most often associated with 21st century learning: critical thinking; creativity; communication and collaboration. These skills are necessary for our students to be career and college ready by the time they earn a diploma from MASD. We must equip our students with these skills due to the rapidly changing, highly competitive world of work or college that awaits them.
I believe the district, as well as the community, has tremendous pride in the past. MASD has produced highly productive graduates that have evolved into remarkable citizens. However, for the benefit of our current and future students, we are not able to rest on the successes of our past … we need and expect our educators to continue the tradition of preparing students for their future in the 21st century; a future filled with challenges and ample opportunities. I ask you to support our Board of School Directors, administration, teachers and students in our unified mission of “developing our students to be responsible citizens who perform academically, think critically, and respond morally to a rapidly changing, highly competitive world.”
Thomas J. Haupt