Board President's Notes: Expanding our comfort zone to best serve kids

Board President's Notes: Expanding our comfort zone to best serve kids
Posted on 11/19/2019
Patriot Academy studentsBy Kevin Schartner, president of the Mehlville Board of Education

It is hard to believe we are already well into the fall semester. For that matter, it is hard to believe we are into the fourth year of our Strategic Plan. These years have been full of new ideas and innovation. The quote, “Greatness begins beyond your comfort zone,” could easily be a new slogan for the Mehlville School District. 

We often talk about MOSAIC Elementary as being where we broke the mold of traditional education. While it was an early step, we see countless examples throughout Mehlville School District where our administrators and teachers stretch themselves to improve student learning. Just this year, we see new examples with our Middle School Academies, expanded classroom innovation and co-teaching models. We are also using a new program called Panorama that uses student input on social and emotional learning to identify how we can better support student success. Across our district, people are challenging the status quo to improve student learning. 

Our Board of Education is no exception. This fall we initiated our first ever “Board Self Evaluation,” a process where school board members evaluate their strengths and opportunities. The process is designed to spotlight issues, which is exactly the type of thing that challenges our own personal comfort zones. We took the self-evaluation on with enthusiasm, excited to see where we could improve. With the help of a Missouri School Boards’ Association facilitator, we conducted this first self-evaluation at our August Work Session and developed seven follow-up actions to improve our effectiveness.

It continues to be an exciting time in the Mehlville School District as we continue to challenge the traditional education “comfort zones,” to find what works for students and identify more opportunities. It is clear we are on the right path, and I can hardly wait to see where we go next. 

Pictured: Sixth grade students in Bernard Middle School's Patriot Academy participate in a lab designed to help them understand fluctuations in population in the animal kingdom.
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