Schools column: To prepare for future, schools focus on the here and nowWhether cold and blustery or warm and welcoming, spring is a busy time of year for people in our schools.
By: Bill Gronseth, For the Budgeteer News
Whether cold and blustery or warm and welcoming, spring is a busy time of year for people in our schools.
In addition to regular classroom and extracurricular activities, schools must implement state testing, prepare next year’s budgets and staffing, work with students to finish this year’s curriculum, prepare for graduation, and a host of other tasks.
Many activities focus on the here and now; other work is geared toward the future and requires thoughtful planning.
Through “Think Kids” conversations, Duluthians from all walks of life shared their thoughts about education and their ideas for the future, resulting in a community vision for our schools. We’re using the direction and ideals expressed to create a detailed action plan for ISD 709. The plan will be specific and measurable, with attainable goals and objectives. Our schools will also develop detailed plans, which will be used by teachers and staff. In short, the guiding principles developed through Think Kids will have a wide-ranging impact.
As we plan for the future we will continue to seek ways to educate and inspire Duluth’s children. Our goal is to provide educational excellence and a supportive environment that provides all students with the skills and experiences they need to learn, grow and be successful.
We continue to closely track student achievement in our schools, studying the data, reviewing and adjusting efforts to help all students increase their reading and math proficiency and graduate on time.
We will continue to do the same in our efforts
to support safe, welcoming environments where the uniqueness of each person is honored and valued.
Our planning includes carefully and responsibly using the resources entrusted to our schools.
State legislators are finalizing state funding for education — as the majority of school funding comes from the state, knowing what to expect over the next two years will further help us prepare budgets for the next school year. Conversations suggest that state leaders recognize that
educational funding has not been sufficient to support our students
and that Minnesota’s budget deficits should not be addressed by borrowing from educational funding.
Our local legislators have been very supportive of the schools and are working hard for Minnesota schools. In Duluth, a voter-approved operating levy provides about $4.4 million annually for education through June 2014. Renewal of that operating levy would continue to provide much needed support for education in Duluth.
The Think Kids initiative provides helpful guidance regarding use of operating levy funds, from managing class size to providing a quality education for all students and working to close the achievement gap.
As we continue to focus on our daily tasks and as we plan for the future, I’m increasingly grateful to those who took part in the Think Kids initiative and helped create a new vision and direction for education in Duluth. This is an exciting and hopeful time for our schools and our community.
Bill Gronseth is the superintendent of Duluth Public Schools. Contact him at (218)336-8752 or email firstname.lastname@example.org