132 YEARS OF SERVICE to Southern Minnesota
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The arrival of another new calendar year brings with it the annual practice of declaring resolutions. On a personal level for me, the ongoing promise that I am going to eat better and exercise more seems to forever top the list. They are annual goals that often are not achieved at the target level I had identified in my personal action plan, but I continue to have hope that I will make progress.

More important than diet and exercise is how I will grow in the coming year to be a better spouse, parent, friend, co-worker, educator, and contributor to the community. The holidays has traditionally been a time to reflect on the many blessings I have in my life, and to make those improvement resolutions on how I am going to make the coming new year even better for my family and others around me.

In the life of a school district and community, the new year also presents an opportunity to celebrate our successes, critique our failures, and chart a course of continuous improvement for the coming year. As I have shared with you on several occasions in the past year, our Strategic Plan provides the guidance for measuring progress and setting new goals.

There are six focus areas which the school district has identified to be most important in order to achieve our vision of being “the school district of choice, inspiring excellence in academics, arts, and activities.” As we are in our first six months of putting the plan into action, we continue to develop specific action steps we believe will help us achieve the goals and objectives within each focus area. In my communication with you this month, I provide a brief overview of first three focus areas regarding goals and objectives for the coming year. The three focus areas are: Student Achievement; Student Support; and Facilities.

In February, I will share an overview of the remaining three focus areas that include: Workforce; Communication & Marketing; and Finance.

Student Achievement: This area focuses on achieving the goals of the World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) for all students in the district; and expands how we define, measure, and report student achievement with a focus on each student’s mastery in areas that extend beyond traditional academic indicators. Much of our focus has been and will continue to be on achieving performance targets in the five WBWF performance areas including: All Students Ready for Kindergarten; All Students in 3rd Grade Achieving Grade-Level Literacy; Closing Achievement Gaps for All Students; All Students College and Career Ready by Graduation; and All Students Graduate. While we have much to celebrate in the academic achievement for many of our students, we also recognize that there are opportunities for improvement in all five areas.

Student Support: This area focuses on developing and implementing a sustainable and well-defined support system that enables all students and staff to achieve at high levels. A specific objective to have in place for the 2017-18 school year is an enhanced support system for students as they transition from the elementary school to the secondary school. There is also interest in increasing student participation in school activities as there is a belief that involvement in activities has a positive impact on student learning and attendance.

Facilities: This area focuses on ensuring the facilities and infrastructure of the school district are designed to optimize staff performance and student learning in a safe, sustainable, and attractive environment. The Board of Education has develop a goal to complete an assessment of all district facilities by September 2017, and use the information from the assessment to determine short- and long-term facility needs. The BOE has identified the assessment as the next step in responding to the June 2015 referendum vote as well as the results from the February 2016 Community Survey.

A reminder that the school board conducts its regular monthly meeting on the third Monday of each month. The location of the meeting is rotated between the NRHEG Secondary School Media Center in New Richland and the NRHEG Elementary School Media Center in Ellendale. The January 17, 2017, School Board meeting will be at the Elementary School beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the February 21, 2017, School Board meeting will be at the Secondary School beginning at 6:30 p.m. Please note that both the January School Board meeting and the February School Board meeting are on a Tuesday since Monday, January 16, and Monday, February 20, are both holidays.

We celebrate together in the accomplishments of our students because we are in this journey together as a school community. Thank you for all you do to support NRHEG Public Schools and our students.

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