Newsletters 2015-16 Focus newsletter, [3] winter - Page 6

PREPARING STUDENTS FOR LIFE Superintendent column cont. from page 1 Improving core subject areas such as reading and math at all grade levels is also at the top of the list for district leaders. An upcoming School Board decision on new curriculum materials will ensure elementary students will have the best resources available to achieve reading proficiency. In addition, our partnership with the Minnesota Reading Corps has enabled more than 400 kindergarten through second-grade readers to improve literacy skills in just the first half of the school year. This program provides focused tutoring with the goal of ensuring all readers are proficient by grade three. In terms of math, our data shows a very strong performance at the elementary and middle school levels, with our students in the top quartile among state schools. We also note that our proficiency drops at the high school level. This condition is consistent with other Minnesota school districts and is due, in part, to the historically high rigor on the tests given to measure proficiency. Determined to reverse this trend, the School Board expanded a successful Bridge to College math program district-wide as part of an overall action plan to improve performance in math. Our schools are in a strong position for success because they know their students and have a culture of continuous improvement aimed at finding solutions to their highest needs. With input from teachers, teacher leaders, administration and support staff, we prioritize our needs and make strategic investments to improve student performance. Early conservative estimates show our district is experiencing enrollment growth. A deeper look indicates that this growth is expected to continue for years to come. The potential to further stress our current facilities, particularly in the northern and western portion of our district, is an emerging challenge. With this in mind, the School Board is forming a community task force to review our facilities. This group will study long-term solutions, looking 10 to 15 years into the future. They will be tasked with recommending options to accommodate new enrollment and programming, security and maintenance needs for our current facilities. Their work will be comprehensive in nature and seek to benefit all areas of our district. A full report is