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Our vision as a school community is to be the school district of choice, inspiring excellence in academics, arts, and activities. We strive to do this every day by empowering students with knowledge and skills to succeed.

On Sept. 5, doors opened to our schools welcoming students for the 2017-2018 school year. Our approximately 160 employees worked extremely hard to ensure the start of the school year was a positive one for our students and their families.

Prior to the first day of school for students, staff gathered on Aug. 28 for a district-wide kickoff where we welcomed new staff and celebrated the opportunity we have to live our mission each day of empowering students with knowledge and skills to succeed. I had the opportunity to share a few comments with the staff as I reflected on our vision as a school district to be the school district of choice, inspiring excellence in academics, arts, and activities. I was reminded of the many gifts and talents shared by our staff every day with students and with one another. Every staff member carries a level of responsibility to make sure we touch every child so that they have hope for a future filled with achievement and success. Our entire community shares that same responsibility.

Dr. Cynthia Johnson was our keynote speaker for the morning. Her message of “transforming our schools into villages of hope to ensure that every student succeeds” aligned perfectly with our mission and purpose as a school community.

Over the course of four days, teachers participated in staff development focusing on our District Strategic Plan specific to the areas of student achievement, student support and workforce development. Within student support, teachers had the opportunity to hear Dr. Mark Sanders’ message about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) which are “stressful or traumatic experiences, including abuse, neglect, and a range of household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence, or growing up with substance abuse, mental illness, parental discord, or crime in the home.” Dr. Sanders is a clinical psychologist and currently serves as Director of School Mental Health for Hennepin County and Minneapolis Public Schools. He helped us better understand the impact ACEs have on our students and their learning in the classroom.  Most importantly, he raised our awareness of how important it is to adjust our behavior in order to best support each student by being sensitive and understanding to their experiences.

Within student achievement and workforce development, teachers continued growing in their understanding of how to function most effectively as a professional learning community (PLC). PLCs operate under the assumption that our core purpose as educators and as a school community is to ensure that our students are learning at high levels. For some, this is a shift from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. Within a PLC, educators work collaboratively to achieve better results for their students by examining student performance data and best instructional practices to inform them on making adjustments to curriculum, programs, and instructional practices. This requires a continuous cycle throughout the school year of examination, reflection, and learning for our teachers.

It was a productive week for our staff, and it has been a great start to the school year. Together, we are here to partner with parents in providing their child with a quality education. We strive to do what we need to do in order for our students to experience opportunities that will prepare them for a world that continues to change. We know that by working together, we have a greater chance of being successful in our work so that every student learns at high levels in order to be successful in a global society.

The public is invited to our annual World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) Public Meeting to be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, prior to the start of the regular School Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Elementary School Media Center in Ellendale. At the meeting, staff will present a summary of the District’s progress in meeting the objectives of the WBWF plan for the 2016-2017 school year. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to provide feedback that will be used in developing our WBWF plan for 2017-2018 which will be presented to the School Board at the October School Board meeting.

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 monthly between the NRHEG Secondary School Media Center in New Richland and the NRHEG Elementary School Media Center in Ellendale. The September 18, 2017, School Board meeting will be at the Elementary School beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the October 16, 2017, School Board meeting will be at the Secondary School beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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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