Edina High School Restructures May Term
June 5, 2014
With recent restructuring of Edina High School’s May Term, a program where seniors are able to leave the last nine days of school to work on an approved project, the Edina School Board approved the changes on the evening of June 2. EHS is the only public high school to offer an opportunity like this in the state of Minnesota. The new May Term was created to move EHS towards a more individualized and independent learning system, where students will be able to pursue their interests. It will also include the juniors and sophomores.
According to Ms. Pusateri, the co-advisor of May Term along with Ms. Kieffer, three years ago, the program had roughly 125 students in the senior class. Now, the program has expanded to roughly 350 seniors in the 2014 graduating class. Next year, all seniors will be highly encouraged to take part in May Term, but the program will not be changing for them.
Seniors will keep all of their May Term privileges: it will still be nine days, finals will not be required, and they will be the only students allowed to do May Term off-campus. Instead for the senior program, EHS is looking to expand the program by having all seniors involved, and is going to be reaching out to the community to find internships for seniors with small businesses. The idea is to get students started on their individualized learning during their sophomore and junior years, so they can excel outside of school their senior year.
“We were finding that kids who do projects and internships in May Term, it has helped them in their problem solving skills, and has gotten them summer jobs that can lead to careers for some,” said Pusateri.
We feel that this will be beneficial for students
— Ms. Pusateri
For sophomores and juniors, the May Term will be a six-day experience on the EHS campus. Teachers will be writing curriculum for different classes that will be based on surveys given to teachers on what they would be willing to teach, and to students on what they will be interested in learning. Students will be able to sign-up for four different classes that they will take during the six days in a four-block schedule. Their May Term will begin after the three days of finals which will take place the week after AP testing. First semester will end before students leave on winter break, and second semester will be done before May Term begins.
“For next year because the calendar looks different… it allowed us to say we could have a six day May Term… and [since] we were talking about personalized learning, we feel that this will be beneficial for students… to keep them engaged,” said Pusateri. “It will also engage teachers to interact differently with students. It gives teachers who may be struggling to get kids to do their curriculum, to get them engaged differently.”
EHS Principal Dr. Bruce Locklear explained that the staff has been very supportive of the new idea which has allowed the program to evolve. “Almost everyone has been involved,” he said. EHS has had staff meetings, while the district has conducted Focus Groups with students from every grade on personalized learning.
A lot of work must still be done regarding the implementation of May Term. The student’s surveys will not be taken until the fall because of timing and availability during the last week of this school year. The most important part is aligning staff and student interests to make the program successful.
“I think it is going to put our students at an advantage to other kids that don’t have this program at their school… If you know as a sophomore what you want to do, you could focus on that topic as a sophomore and a junior. Then as a senior, you can get a really cool internship that is applicable to your studies. That is really exciting for kids,” said Ms. Pusateri.