Message from the Superintendent

In our last newsletter I shared the updated vision of our school district, along with the updated missions of each of the four pillars of our strategic plan. 

As you know, last year we facilitated a halftime update to our 10-year strategic plan. I would now like to share some more specific information regarding our annual work plans for each of the district aims in curriculum, professional development, technology and facilities. 

In the area of curriculum, we have established a number of major goals. The first annual goal will be to establish what is called a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Task Force. The idea is that the district will be able to systemically establish the levels of support needed for every student, regardless of achievement level. These procedures are driven by research-based best practices in the field of education. 

In addition, the district will review the Minnesota art standards and make appropriate adjustments and updates to our art curriculum. The district will also review the Minnesota science standards for purposes of implementation in the following school year. 

Regarding our professional development work plan, we have established two major goals for the 2019-20 school year. The first will be to support the training and implementation of quality learning targets and the gradual release of responsibility (GRR) instructional model in all our classrooms pre-k-12. This is an extensive goal that will be worked on over the next three years. The majority of our professional development time will focus on this initiative, which should ultimately result in improved test scores. The second annual goal in the area of professional development will be to support teacher development and education, including license renewal training. 

The third major component of our strategic plan is in the area of technology. Our major focus here will be to analyze current technology resources in the district and identify needs for a potential 1-1 initiative that will involve a blended learning environment for our 21st century learners. This means that there will be one device for every student in our district, whether it is a chromebook, laptop or iPad. 

The fourth and last component of our strategic plan involves facilities. We will continue working with our contractors in order to establish consistent and efficient heating and cooling in all of our buildings in order to provide an optimal environment for our students, staff and visitors. 

In addition, the district will continue to pursue security upgrades. These will include, but not be limited to, the entrances of our schools. The objective is to maintain a safe and welcoming learning environment. Our facilities committee will also continue to monitor traffic patterns, both of vehicles and pedestrians, on our campus.

Budget update
As all of you are aware, the district reduced its budget for this school year by approximately $300,000. This was needed in order for the district to be fiscally responsible based on the forecasted revenues generated by student enrollment and our current expenditures. 

The district took steps beginning last year to reduce its expenditures in a fiscally responsible and incremental fashion in order to maintain the appropriate fund balance for our school district. We will tighten the belt a little bit more this year based on current funding forecasts and budget projections. 

More detailed information will be forthcoming in the near future. The bottom line is that our community expects the school district to facilitate educational programming at the highest level and in the most efficient manner. The district will continue to facilitate all operations in the most fiscally responsible manner.
Matthew W. Schoen, Ed.S. Superintendent
October, 2019