Muscatine High School welcomed Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on Tuesday, March 2nd inside the Howe Commons. Over the course of an hour Governor Branstad and a room full of students, teachers and support staff were treated to a presentation lead by Muscatine High School Principal Michael McGrory. A focus over the past three years has been addressing rigor throughout Muscatine High School. Principal McGrory highlighted the growth that has taken place including growing the number of AP (Advanced Placement) classes from eight to twenty. The amount of students taking AP classes has also increased from 142 to over 460. Assistant Principal Mike Morgan covered the Enrichment time which allows students additional time during the course of their lunch to meet with teachers. Morgan also discussed the implementation of the 9th Grade Academy which works with current MHS Freshman who are at risk of falling behind and at the same time identifies incoming freshman in-need of additional support.
The 2015-2016 school year was the first for the 9th Grade Academy and over 75% of the students enlisted are on pace for graduation in a few short years. Principal McGrory discussed the increased attendance at Muscatine High School along with the decreased failure rate going on to say that he “could not thank his staff, parents and students enough for their support, our students are the nicest kids you’ll ever meet.” The event also saw presentations from current high school students Macy Morrow presented on AP and ACT, James Wood presented on Project Lead The Way, Tyler Coulston presented on the 9th Grade Academy, Jackson Folk presented on Enrichment and Jasun McFadon Urbina presented on the Success Center. Upon completion of the presentation Governor Branstad said to Principal McGrory and staff “I compliment you on your improvement plan, I would like to see every school in the state do this.” Branstad also asked McGrory how we was able to get everyone to buy into the programs? To which McGrory stated “I had worked at high performing high schools and initially upon arriving at Muscatine I was not planning on making changes right away. I immediately received the support from my staff and within the first three months as Principal we started the process to implement these programs.” Branstad complimented the students who made presentations saying “that took courage to participate and the benefit from doing that will make reaching your goals that much easier and you’ll be more comfortable speaking.”