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Annual Mentor State of the Schools Address

On Tuesday, January 23rd, we went to the Paradigm at Mentor High School to hear the annual "State of the Schools" address which was delivered by Mr. Bill Porter, the Interim Mentor School Superintendent. The event was put on by the Mentor Chamber of Commerce and enjoyed the sponsorship of such local organizations as Mentor Teachers Association, Lake Erie College, the Grace Church of Mentor, and Dollar Bank.

The Mentor Public Schools are acknowledged throughout the State of Ohio as being high-performing. What's more, the school district has earned perfect audits from the State of Ohio for eight years in a row. 

In the course of his presentation, Mr. Porter spoke about how declining school enrollment has lead to the closing of several schools and how this move will save the taxpayers an abundance of money. He mainly focused on how students will be helped by recent curricular changes like the expansion of STEM to cover grades K-12 and career technical offerings that include internships with local businesses and organizations.  

On an extra-curricular level, "Rachel's Challenge", a venture that was initiated by a Columbine survivor, promotes a culture of inclusivity and next week the "Feed Lake County" program will start up which is aimed at helping the disadvantaged. Plus some terrific community partnerships have been formed with such organizations as the Mentor Library and "Lake Health" which lets the swim teams practice in its pool.

We learned that Mr. Matthew Miller, the former superintendent, who we were accustomed to hearing give this address moved on to take another position. The people that we talked to at the luncheon, however, all believed that Mr. Porter is doing a fine job. We, ourselves, conferred with him about ESL and he said that the program was not very large but serviced by excellent instructors. He was also very familiar with Ms. Margaret W. Wong because he grew up in Shaker Heights and even got to meet her once.

Representatives from all of the sponsoring organizations got to speak for a few minutes and we especially liked what Ms. Cindy Langelier, President of the Mentor Teachers Association had to say about how if one read over the mission statements of the National Education Association and the Mentor School System along with what the Mentor Chamber of Commerce had to say about education on its website, they seemed to very much alike in goals and purposes.

Ms. Langelier contended that it was comings together like these that were necessary if progress is to be made. Like us, she was very troubled by rumblings on the national level wherein government officials point their fingers at each other and engage in "I'm right and you are not" exchanges instead of working together for the common good.

During lunch, we sat with Ms. Samantha Pawlak, the Branch Manager at "KeyBank" on Plaza Blvd in Mentor, who was curious to learn about our job so we had a very pleasant conversation.

We also met Mr. Gary Carr, Transfer Enrollment Coordinator at Lake Erie College", who had immigrated to the United States from Ireland and had gotten his Green Card with the assistance of "Margaret W. Wong & Associates." He was particularly grateful to our Ms. Emily Mark who guided him through the process.  

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC




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