The last week of school is filled with elation and a sense of accomplishment marked by awards, promotion ceremonies, and class celebrations. As our high school and adult school students crossed the graduation stage to receive their diplomas, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy watching the glow in their smiles and the pride in their steps. Their families and friends held larger than life photos, flowers, and signs in their outstretched hands. The community gathered together in celebration, and to affirm that our students had realized their goals and are poised to set out on the next path of their life journeys. Community is essential in our ability to provide our students with opportunities and experiences that will challenge them to learn and explore the many facets of their potential that will bring each one to this right of passage and beyond.
Together we set the foundation for personalized learning through multiple pathways; the tiny home at Sinnott Elementary School is one example. While our students were able to build a tiny home with the support of staff, volunteers, parents, and corporate sponsors, they learned much more than simply building a house. This year-long project encompassed authentic learning experiences that integrated math, science, language, and social studies. Each student owned his/her learning path and worked in partnership with teachers, support staff, and peers. The Sinnott teachers provided students with the opportunity to gain confidence as both independent and collaborative learners. Project based learning (PBL) is one opportunity for personalization and is evident in learning from first grade through our adult school in MUSD. In our classrooms at Elmwood, our learners experienced PBL that culminated in the Women’s Peace Garden. As with the tiny home project, this too encompassed aspects of learning that required inquiry, collaboration, and partnership with community.
This inaugural year of our Multilingual Celebration was also a first for dual immersion at Randall, language ambassadors throughout all schools, and the Promise Project, which partners adult school learners with elementary language learners. MUSD is now a Seal of Biliteracy district, providing our students with credentials that celebrate and recognize their ability to effectively communicate in both English and their languages of origin. Through the Sobrato Early Academic Language model, our teachers, like those at Spangler Elementary School, have enhanced language development for all learners. At Milpitas High School (MHS), our world language teachers provide our students with opportunities to learn Romantic and Asian languages facilitated by collaborative technologies. Rancho Milpitas Middle School was awarded a National Schools to Watch designation for its English learner program, which contributed to the doubled increase in the numbers of second language students who become fluent English speakers. And MUSD was selected by the Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) as one of 20 public school districts in California to receive the title of 2016 Honor Roll School District.
Science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) was bolstered this year in many schools, with Rose Elementary School, MHS, and Calaveras Hills High School standing out for their innovative programs; respectively – Rose STEAM Hour, a bio-tech grant award, and engineering mini-course with Flex Inc. Our partnership this year with the City of Milpitas has afforded us opportunities to explore internships for our students and to build city, school, and business alliances. In conjunction with San Jose Evergreen Community College, we opened our first dual enrollment classes for high school students and expanded our English as a Second Language opportunities for adult learners. Through a partnership with Summit Schools, Pomeroy, Weller and Rose elementary schools, and Thomas Russell Middle School, have implemented a personalized learning platform. Over 20 of our students received awards from the Santa Clara County Alliance of Black Educators. These and other community partnerships strengthen and build our Culture of We that is essential for engaging students and their families.
Thank you Milpitas and MUSD staff for a year of success. As our graduates move forward, so too do we, always in community!