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Mohawk Trail reviewing graduation requirements

  • Mohawk Trail Regional School FILE PHOTO



Staff Writer
Monday, December 03, 2018

BUCKLAND — Mohawk Trail Regional School officials went back to school for a weekend to “rethink school” and consider re-designing graduation requirements at Mohawk to better prepare students for life after school.

They came away not only with ideas about what’s valuable to graduating students, but with a $14,800 mini-grant to begin a longer process of reviewing the school’s graduation criteria and possibly making changes so that Mohawk graduates are better prepared for college or careers in their chosen fields.

“We will be seeking to add more choice, variety of courses, and internships as pathways to graduation,” said a report submitted this month to the Mohawk Trail Regional School District Committee. “This grant will allow us to host a weekend institute in which up to 20 Mohawk stakeholders (students, staff, parents, community members) will be invited to participate in the redesign of graduation requirements.”

In October, Co-Principal Marisa Mendonsa, Mohawk teachers Rachel Silverman, Drew Johnson, Travis Minnick and school parent Tim Shearer attended the Mass IDEAS School Design Institute for a weekend long intensive to “re-envision Mohawk student pathways to graduation.”

Mass IDEAS was started by Next Generation Learning Challenges, an educational group aiming to improve public education through innovative ways to look at how students learn. This year, Mass IDEAS held three weekend school design workshops, with 22 school system teams participating, according to Program Officer Liza Veto.

Mohawk was awarded a preliminary mini-grant, and has applied for a $100,000 planning grant to support school redesign. Mohawk educators will be interviewed for the grant on Monday.

Mohawk’s $14,800 grant from the Mass IDEAS Design Institute will be used for stipends for a team of up to 20 interested students, teachers, community members and parents who sign up to work on discussions, planning and considering new Mohawk graduation requirements, in future events to take place at Mohawk. The school will be holding a “roundtable” of full-day workshops over the weekend of Jan. 26 and 27, according to Mohawk spokeswoman Carla Potts. More information will be available on the school’s website.

“We are thrilled Mass IDEAS recognized the goals and vision we have to Mohawk are innovative and work to continue building a great public school for our community,” said Mendonsa. “This funding will allow us to engage our school community in revising Mohawk graduation requirements. In doing so, we will seek to create more choice and opportunities for each student.”

“We are excited to receive this mini-grant so that we can continue this process of examining how our graduation requirements can reshape what happens for our students throughout their years at Mohawk – better preparing them for life beyond Mohawk,” added Co-Principal Lynn Dole.

“Our redesign process is rooted in the reality that one school path doesn’t work for every student.” said Mohawk art teacher Rachel Silverman, one of the team members to attend the weekend-long Institute program. “We are creating a model that allows each learner to customize their trail through high school.”