Schools column: Happy New Year!Happy New Year! As a teacher, that’s how I used to greet students on the first day of school. Depending on their ages I got everything from puzzled questions to a laugh to a roll of the eyeballs.
By: Bill Gronseth, For the Budgeteer News
Happy New Year! As a teacher, that’s how I used to greet students on the first day of school. Depending on their ages I got everything from puzzled questions to a laugh to a roll of the eyeballs.
Just like the beginning of a new calendar year, a new school year presents an opportunity for fresh beginnings. For students, there are new subjects to learn, new teachers to meet and maybe even a new school building to explore. Families are getting used to a new schedule. Teachers are greeting and getting to know the young people with whom they’ll spend their days. Most colleagues I talk with, no matter how long they’ve worked in education, find the first few days of school especially energizing.
A new school year is a good time for families to help students set goals for themselves. Start with what your child hopes to accomplish by the end of the school year and then talk about the small steps necessary to get there. Even the biggest goal can be reached by dividing it into many smaller ones. Parents and caregivers can also set goals for themselves related to supporting their child’s educational journey. Such support is key to student achievement.
This fall, our school district will begin work to accomplish several important goals. Last year’s “Think Kids” initiative resulted in a thoughtful, detailed four-year Continuous Improvement Plan for our schools, based on community vision. It includes specific goals associated with managing class sizes, raising student achievement, closing the achievement gap, creating safe and welcoming environments, dedicating resources to the classroom and others. We’ll use these goals to guide our decision-making and to check our progress and we’ll share results through an annual report to the community.
The last two school construction projects are complete — our primary focus now and into the future can be on student achievement and making the best use of our resources toward that objective. The Continuous Improvement Plan will help us do that.
This fall, there are school board elections and an education levy referendum for citizens to learn about and consider. Both will have a significant impact on the future of our schools and our ability to achieve these important educational goals.
Many people have asked if we will continue the Think Kids community conversations this school year, and I believe we will. There will always be important educational topics to discuss and consider and the Think Kids conversation is a great way to give everyone an opportunity to participate.
As we continue to work together with local leaders, citizens and staff, I believe we are in a good position to accomplish the vision and goals identified by the community.
And so, Happy New Year, and best wishes to everyone as we head back to school.
Bill Gronseth is the superintendent of Duluth Public Schools. Contact him at (218)336-8752 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.