Business Education Partnership with NTC:
By strengthening our partnership with NorthCentral Technical College, we are prepared to make changes to the way we deliver instruction for our transcripted credit courses in Business Education. These changes will reflect the same experiences students would receive if they were to enroll directly into NTC to take the courses. Instead of having a teacher on site or employing a teacher to teach the transcripted credit courses, Merrill students will take the courses online or with a NTC instructor in a synchronous online session. So in other words we are preparing students to be college ready by creating opportunities for students to experience the way instruction is delivered at the college level. We are still educating teenage students so our intent will be to hire an aide to be a liaison and provide students support in making this transition. We will also be seeking opportunities to work with experts in the business field to enhance student learning in this coursework, much like the junior achievement program.
To help students and parents understand the changes and how this transition will continue to provide a quality learning experience, we will host an orientation to transcripted credit opportunities, the online/blended delivery of instruction, and the direction we are heading with the Business and Informational Technology courses. Representatives from NTC will assist us with the orientation. 
The future of the program will include courses that are relevant to the field of business and information and technology. We want to assist students in identifying a career pathway that starts in high school, continues to NTC or a college of their choice, and right into the local workforce if they wish. In partnership with NTC we will develop academies that will provide students with certificate programs that result in the first year of college being completed and ladder right into associate and four-year degree programs. Certificate programs in high demand fields such as Information and Technology are eligible for grant awards by the state to assist in sustaining relevant and rigorous learning opportunities for students. 
The cost of the coursework will be $120 per college credit per student, with a first year total anticipated to be less than $25,000. If we hire part-time aides to assist and supervise students we can keep salary costs below $20,000. If this were to become a full time position the cost would be approximately $44,000. Course materials are anticipated to be less than $10,000. Total costs for this program delivery model will range from $35,000 minimum (no aide) to $79,000 (1 full time aide). The 2013-14 cost of instruction and materials was approximately $90,000.  
School Webpage Upgrade:
We are excited to rollout the new webpage on July 24. Our intent is for the page to provide relevant content and be the “go to” for information about our District. The most noticeable changes are the new look, branding throughout the District site, enhanced building site pages, a District wide calendar with features to select notifications for nearly everything happening in the District, and ease of finding publications such as District policies, Board agendas and forms. On the content management side, we will change the role of the webmaster to focus on browsing experience and that content remains current. The actual management of the pages and uploading of information will be handled at the building/site level. 
If you have any questions, please contact us. Until then, wishing you a great summer!