At Munger Mountain Elementary, we strive to prepare biliterate and bilingual global leaders who achieve academic excellence and practice equity and empathy in their daily lives.
"Once social change begins it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future and the future is ours."
Welcome to Munger Mountain Elementary School
Welcome to Munger Mountain Elementary School
It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to serve as the principal of our district’s newest elementary school. Over the course of the next year, while my office will be located at Colter Elementary, I will be working closely with the teachers and students at both Jackson and Colter Elementary Schools to ensure a successful transition for our Dual Immersion Program to Munger Mountain Elementary. While the process of getting us to this point was long and arduous for our community, I truly feel that we are moving in a direction that best supports all students in our district. For those of you who know me as the principal at Jackson Elementary, you are aware that I place the utmost priority on parent communication, transparency and ensuring the success of all students. That will continue as I move into this new role and help to ensure that our district’s Dual Immersion Program is one of the top, if not the finest, in the country.
Opening a new school is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a principal, a teacher, a student, and a parent. As an educator for the past 19 years, and having served as a school administrator or teacher in grades K-12, this is a first for me and I celebrate the opportunities that it provides. Over the next sixteen months, working closely with our teachers, students and parents is critical as we define the vision and mission of our new school. As part of the reconfiguration process, the Rendezvous PTO (parent, teacher organization) will be splitting into two separate PTO groups for next year. The CES and JES PTO will serve their respective schools, and we encourage parents of future MMES students to become involved in these organizations. As you know, a year is a long time in the life of a child and I am sure that all of you are eager to support their upcoming year in any way that you can. At the same time, I am forming a Munger Mountain Elementary parent advisory committee which may evolve into the MMES PTO in the fall of 2018. If you are interested in being part of this committee, please call or send me an email so I can be sure to include you in our meetings. Having Spanish and English speaking families work on this committee is critically important. As one board member recently said to me, “The new school is a blank slate.” I’m looking forward to working with all of you to leave an indelible mark on our new school’s future.
Throughout the reconfiguration process and subsequent discussion around whole school vs. strand model, many parents have asked how our dual immersion program performs. This data has been shared with the school board and groups of constituents over the past several years, but it is evident that we need to do a better job of doing so more routinely and clearly. Based on data from this past school year, students in the Dual Immersion Program are generally performing as well or better than their peers in the traditional program. Of course, every student is unique and there are students who excel in both programs. Chad Ransom and Heather Goodrich have done an excellent job guiding the program through its infancy to a robust K-9 program that has yet to achieve it’s full potential. Similarly, our Dual Immersion teachers are an incredibly talented group of professionals who I consider myself lucky to support.
There is a reason that you made the decision to enroll your child in the Dual Immersion Program, and we hope that the location of the new school will not diminish that initial motivation. Those of us who teach in and support the program hope that you recognize the value that bilingualism and biculturalism offers your child as they progress through their K-12 education. We hope that you have come to love the pride that your child displays as they communicate in two languages to their teachers and peers. Whether your child is a native Spanish or English speaker, we hope that you embrace how your child is simultaneously developing pride in their own culture while developing an understanding of others. The English and Spanish languages are spoken by over 800 million people and it is estimated that those who use two or more languages in their everyday lives account for more than half of the world’s population. During the last decade, multiple research studies have demonstrated the significant cognitive benefits derived from early language learning, as well as the potential long-term educational and career benefits that multilingual students accrue. Further research has found a meaningful connection between Dual Language Immersion Programs and academic success — regardless of a student’s native language. For these reasons, I am pursuing the Dual Immersion Program for my own son, who is entering kindergarten this year and will hopefully join your child as a student at MMES when it opens in 2018.
The parent letter that was sent to all of you in March was met with some concern by many families in the Dual Immersion Program. It seemed to suggest that opting out of the program was to be expected based on the location of the new school. While the location of the new school may push some families to make that decision, I sincerely hope that you will come to change that perspective over the next school year as we work together to make Munger Mountain Elementary a truly inspirational place to work and learn. Again, this is not possible without your support and I look forward to our partnership in the years ahead.