Before a packed commons room at the Southwest Area Career Center yesterday morning, David Beckett, president of the Monett R-1 Board of Education, officially welcomed the faculty and staff back. Workshops ran this week and classes start on Aug. 19.
Beckett joked that both the good news and bad news he carried was the same: Superintendent Jungmann had completed his first year. Beckett was pleased to report the district had not "missed a beat" under Jungmann, who had met or exceeded all the goals the board had set.
"Thank you for choosing a career to serve kids," Beckett said.
"Following tradition, opening morning ceremonies included a high dose of levity as new administrators and teachers were introduced from each campus.
Jungmann left no doubt about the district's past success. Based on last spring's Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests, gains had been made on the Annual Yearly Progress report issued under the No Child Left Behind Act.
At Central Park Elementary, students increased the percentage scoring in the top two levels of tests in all 12 subgroups. At Monett Intermediate, scores increased in 11 of 12 categories and met the No Child Left Behind standard for all 12 subgroups. Monett High School met all AYP standards as well.
District-wide, MAP scores revealed the percentage of students scoring in the top two levels for 10 of 12 subgroups had risen. District math scores were above state averages in four of seven grades by an average of 18 index points. Communication arts MAP scores as well were above state averages in four of seven grade levels by an average of 10 index points, and science MAP scores were higher than state averages in all three grades that were tested.
Last year the district had missed being rated as "accredited with distinction" in two areas: graduation and overall AYP standards. The district met both of those standards in the last round of tests and at spring graduation. If other scores come in as hoped, Jungmann said accreditation with distinction should be earned this year.
Jungmann pointed to numerous outstanding achievements by students, including record numbers qualifying for national competition in speech and the readers theater taking second in state. Athletics were also cited for outstanding success.
Running down facilities improvements over the summer, Jungmann got an enthusiastic response from teachers when he spoke about the technology upgrade made throughout the district and more simple things like the long-awaited remodeling of bathrooms at Central Park Elementary.
For administrators, Jungmann had already provided guide words of effective, efficient and enjoyable. He had another set of three E's for teachers: excitement, engagement and encouragement.
Jungmann illustrated excitement by airing the YouTube video "Jill and Kevin's Big Day," an unconventional wedding ceremony featured the wedding party dancing down the aisle. Jungmann suggested making the classroom experience exciting like the first day of kindergarten.
Jungmann described students as "digital natives," compared to teachers, who are "digital immigrants." To illustrate what that means, a video written by B. Nesbitt, based on a variety of cited research, was shown, pointing out the time young people spend texting, e-mailing, blogging and watching TV. Nesbitt stated students want to learn by doing, and 63 percent of teachers do not let students create with technology. The video's young narrators suggested turning internet code "www" into "whatever, whenever, wherever."
"Students take responsibility for and become engaged in their own learning," Jungmann said. In such a setting, students will learn person and social responsibility, reasoning, visualizing and decision-making.
Jungmann gave all the faculty copies of the motivational book, "How Full Is Your Bucket?" by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton. He said the three E's can be met by being bucket fillers, not bucket dippers. The theory suggests everyone has an invisible bucket. Every interaction involves the use of a dipper, either filling or dipping from others' buckets.
"The number one reason people leave jobs is they don't feel appreciated. We've got to prevent bucket dipping," Jungmann said.
Administrators distributed three-inch-high buckets to everyone in the auditorium. Jungmann challenged the faculty to fight the negative culture of telling people what is wrong, instead of what is right. He noted students who are consistently criticized achieve at similar levels to those who are ignored.
Jungmann concluded by showing a video of a young student in the Dallas, Texas, area. Dalton Sherman addressed the 20,000 teachers of the Dallas metro area. With the poise of a veteran public speaker, Sherman urged the teachers to believe in him and his classmates.
"You better not give up on us," Sherman said. "In some cases, you've all we got. You feed us, wipe our tears, hold our hand, hug us when we need it. You've the one who loves us when it seems like no one else does."
"I believe in you," Jungmann told the teachers. "More importantly, I believe in our kids. That's why we must be bucket fillers. Go out and engage, excite and encourage our students. Have a wonderful school year. Our future and theirs depends on it."