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‘Relentless Focus’ Pitch of Regional Schools Chief

Mackey Pendergrast kicks off Columbus Day in-services outlining goals for this year and beyond.

The West Morris Regional School District should be like Peyton Manning, or Paul O’Neill. Or maybe, considering the success they've had over the last five years, they should just continue to be themselves.

Superintendent Mackey Pendergrast addressed the assembled faculty with a power point presentation that showed some of the districts accomplishments and issued a challenge for the next seven months.

“We’ve seen a 45 percent increase in IB students reading and writing and advanced students reading and writing,” Pendergrast said. “But we need to close the gap for students who are not in the advanced program.”

According to Pendergrast, the regional district will be focusing on skills, disciplinary knowledge and “something else.”

“That something else is the teacher and the connections they form in the classroom,” Pendergrast said. “We have a very dedicated and talented group.”

But Pendergrast said that there were new challenges being faced by their students.

“4.9 million recent college graduates couldn’t find jobs,” Pendergrast said. “But there were 150,000 new technology jobs being created and only 14,000 graduates prepared for them.”

Pendergrast said over the next seven months he wanted the faculty to think of ways in which they can balance the vision of creating world class learners even though they struggle with the standardization that may restrict them.

“I don’t have all the answers. But I think we can find some together,” Pendergrast said,.

Pendergrast also related the story of quarterback Peyton Manning recording his practices and then going back out to improve upon his already excellent performance and added an anecdote about former Yankee outfielder Paul O’Neill, who used to draw eyeballs on his bat to help him focus.

“These are things for us to work on over the next year or two or three,” Pendergrast said. “I am a big fan of the story of the Wright Brothers because they embraced the pace of nature.”

LVMom October 08, 2012 at 04:42 PM
i want to caution those heading into tech jobs.. a LOT of them are going overseas...and there are not as many out there as you think .. a lot of them are for VERY specific skill sets (that you only get by working with product x). there are a TON of people with degrees in tech who can't get jobs... .. i agree that standardization is not a good thing... i think we (as a country) need to refocus on education and what works... .. as far as an increase in scores GREAT...but there is more we can do to really educate our kids in a global and world view (they live in a bubble of elitism in many ways, it's just where we live) ... we can take a page out of some of the top schools (swarthmore, grinell, macalester, haverford, pitzer, pomona, and on and on) focus on people, and human rights ... -- i think i like this guy.. and i don't usually like administrators... -- can we be a 'test' district of no 'standardized' NJ state testing (K-12) and focus on learning.. since "The Gov" opted out of no child left behind based on 'we are capable of doing it ourselves' can't we broach the subject with the same motto? .. the reason homeschooling works so well and homeschoolers traditionally score better then public/private school kids is that homeschooling is not a 'forced single style' education - i think classroom inovation is GREAT!
kittykitty October 08, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Kudos to Mackey ... he will continue leading our regional district in a direction to benefit all the students. And, nice to see PATCH state: " Or maybe, considering the success they've had over the last five years, they should just continue to be themselves." We have an outstanding district that will only continue to improve under Mackey's dedicated and talented leadership.
Barbara October 08, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Linda- do you have children at Mendham High School? Can you please tell us what you consider outstanding about this District?

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