The Muskie Way
Welcome to the Muskie Way!
What is the Muskie Way?
In the Spring of 2017, the Muscatine Community School District's board members, staff, parents, students, and community came together to re-visit the district's mission, vision, and goals. These stakeholder groups met with facilitators to answer the following questions: what is the district's mission and vision? What does it value? What are its beliefs and goals, and guiding philosophy? From that, a new mission and vision were developed to better match our student's needs to be successful as they leave our campus. We are proud of the product that was developed from this collaborative effort and believe that it encompasses and supports our mission "Muscatine Schools will develop a community of successful learners and leaders" and vision "Every Student is a Success Story." We invite you to take a look at the Muskie Way and see how our school district provides a high-quality education for all of its students.
The Muskie Way - Rigorous Academics
Beyond High School - Preparing Our Students for College or Career
In the past, the Iowa Department of Education held site visits every five years where teams of experts would descend upon Iowa school districts and review policy, curriculum, survey parents, students, and staff, and provide a report on areas of strength and areas of weaknesses with suggested improvements. A suggested area of improvement during the last visit in 2014 was to provide a more challenging curriculum for our students to better prepare them for college and/or career after high school. In answer to this suggestion, the district worked hard to offer challenging courses through Advanced Placement classes at the high school level and most recently, pre-advanced placement classes beginning in 5th grade. Due to this focus, the Muscatine Community School District was the only district in the state of Iowa to be awarded the 2018 District of Distinction from the University of Iowa's Belin-Blank Center for its Advanced Placement (AP) course offerings for its students. MCSD currently ranks in the top 15 in the state of Iowa on the AP Index.
Pre- and Advanced Placement Courses
Currently, the district offers pre-advanced placement math beginning in 5th grade, pre-AP math and ELA at the middle school level, and over 22 pre- and advanced placement course offerings at the high school level. This coursework prepares MCSD students for college-level work and provides the opportunity for high school students to earn college credit while still in high school.
In 2018, approximately 800 Muscatine High School students took nearly 1,300 AP classes. In comparison, only 60 students took 150 AP classes in 2010! Equally remarkable, 500 Muskie middle schoolers took over 1,000 pre-advanced placement courses during the 2018-19 school year.
Advanced Placement tests cost on average $90 per test for students and their families. The Muscatine Community School District has made a commitment to its students by paying for ALL advanced placement tests for ALL students - removing the test cost as a barrier to success. Advanced Placement tests are FREE OF CHARGE to Muskie students.
"I have definitely seen a vast expansion in the curriculum and courses offered that promise more rigorous content. While the material and preparation in courses vary, there is always a challenging path to take. I feel as if I am very prepared for my future. No matter what specific career path I end up taking, my own personal study skills and work ethic that I have learned through my time at MHS has readied me for wherever life takes me." Saul Ocampo, Class of 2018
The ACT Aspire Test is given to all students in grades 3-10. This test covers reading, math, English, and science and measures a student's readiness to take the ACT as Juniors. In 2018, Muskie students achieved the highest percentage ever and attained scores at or above benchmark in all areas. This past year 289 Juniors took the ACT achieving an overall average of 19.3. This, too, is the highest our students have achieved since universal testing of all Juniors began.
The Muscatine Community School District pays for ALL Muscatine High School Juniors to take the ACT, removing another barrier of cost and giving each high school student this opportunity for their college admission FREE OF CHARGE.
"Having two children in college who were separated by two years academically, we witnessed an improved level of preparation due to our second student's opportunity to participate in a more rigorous environment. Not only was there a deeper level of understanding but also the study skills required were more in alignment with what's required for success at the college level allowing for a more smooth transition into college." Chris Hoffman, parent of 2 MCSD alumni and 2 current MCSD students.
The Muskie Way - Focus on Career Pathways
Beyond High School - Preparing Our Students for College or Career
Concurrent Enrollment and College Connection Courses
The Muscatine Community School District partners with Muscatine Community College to offer concurrent enrollment classes--college classes while still in high school. This opportunity allows students to receive college credit (at no cost to the student) while still in high school giving them a head start on their college degree and/or certification. Currently there are over twenty concurrent enrollment classes offered at Muscatine High School including classes in the fields of Industrial/Engineering and Technology, Art and Business, Agriculture, and Science and Engineering (PLTW).
The district also partners with Muscatine Community College to provide students the opportunity to take Post-Secondary Education Opportunity (PSEO) classes through MCC"s College Connection Individual Registration for those Juniors and Seniors who wish to pursue a more rigorous academic option while still attending Muscatine High School. PSEO classes are free for the student as long as the student does not drop the class or fail the class.
Muscatine High School Seniors can choose between three career academies: advanced manufacturing, welding, and culinary arts should they aspire to make one of these areas a career choice. Muscatine Community College, in conjunction with the school district, offers seniors the opportunity to take 16-18 college credits their last year of high school resulting in a certificate that can lead to immediate employment after high school or transfer the credits towards a degree program. Students gain hands-on experience through internships providing them with the experience they need as they explore career options after high school.
The Muskie Way - Development of Engaged Future Community Leaders
Developing Student's Passions and Interests
Our student's passions and interests are cultivated through a wide variety of activities and programs at Muscatine Schools. Studies show that students who are engaged in sports, clubs, and afterschool programs, attend school on a more regular basis and have an overall positive experience during their public education experience. Muscatine Schools has over 150 extra-curricular and interest groups/clubs available to our students in grades K-12 allowing them to develop skills and interests that go beyond the school day.
Architect Rendering of the Proposed MHS Science/STEM Wing
The Board of Education has recently committed millions of dollars towards our student's extra-curricular and curricular learning including $1 million dollars to the Fine Arts program for new instruments for the Mighty Muskie Bands and the MCSD Orchestra program (the largest orchestra program in the state of Iowa!), over $3 million for the new Van Hecke Center for our physical education and student athletes, and over $8.5 million towards a new science and STEM wing at the Muscatine High School.
Van Hecke Center - Weight Room
Jefferson STEAM Club
Do You Live Outside of the MCSD?
You may qualify for open enrollment! Call the superintendent's office at 563-263-7223 or go to: Open Enrollment.
Are you new to the district?
Are you moving into the MCSD attendance area? Please register online at your earliest convenience or visit any of our school buildings including the Administration Center, 2900 Mulberry Avenue for assistance.
Returning students can register once the 2019-20 online registration opens in July, 2019.