By Dr. John Sample
It’s hard to believe that another school year is right around the corner! Soon our students will be returning to school, anxious to meet their new teacher and begin another year of learning. The Class of 2030 will be entering Kindergarten, ready to face the challenges that a full day offers.
We also welcome our newest Bluejay staff to the nest this year. I am excited to announce John Miller as our new Activities Director at the high school and middle school, Jill Seaman as our new Director at Pine River School for Young Learners, Heather Skutak as our new Principal at Jefferson Elementary and Glenda Oginski as our new Principal at Kate Goodrich Elementary. Each of these professionals possess a high level of leadership skills and I encourage you to reach out and experience their qualities in person.
As I took time to reflect on this past school year, I’m reminded of a few comments I have received regarding my positivity. I’ve heard, “Isn’t there any bad news in the district or is everything perfect?” While I am typically a positive and upbeat person, there are certainly areas of improvement that receive our primary focus. Some of the negative news revolves around our state and federal budgets. This year marks a 15% decrease in our Title I (Reading Recovery, Reading Specialists) budget. Title II (professional development, Literacy) also saw a major 36% decrease. The State budget is still unresolved and probably won’t be passed until later this Fall.
Instructionally, we must do a better job of providing our students academic success. I’ve seen our Forward Exam scores and they are nowhere near where we need them to be when compared to the state average.
Recognizing our areas of improvement is the first step. The good news is that we have the caring professionals that will meet these challenges and raise our student achievement to higher levels. We have made changes to our staff and have people in positions where they can positively impact our students’ success. We are committed to providing our instructional staff the strategies and resources they require. We also understand that we must meet students’ social/emotional needs to get them to that place where learning takes place. We understand that relationships matter and provide the foundation for success.
I’ve always been a competitive person. Whether it was throwing the discus, playing a game of darts or sitting down at the Monopoly board, I’ve strived for success. I’m not alone when I say that our students will achieve higher than our neighboring districts. While our per pupil spending is considerably less than that of our neighbors, our students afford every opportunity for future success. Through our partnership with the community and our parents, our students will have the opportunity to achieve.
Reminder for upcoming events:
Our Community Conversation Follow Up meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the MHS Library. All are invited to attend. Please contact Tammy Woller at 715-536-4581 ext 10002, by September 5 if you can participate.
Outside the School Walls: Exploring MAPS’ Potential is a panel discussion of central office administrators taking place on Monday, August 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the T.B. Scott Free Library. This is a part of the Building Merrill Together Program Series and all are invited to attend.