What have we been doing during summer vacation? Getting ready for the new school year, of course!
Our school population in grades preK through grade 8 has been growing slightly, and our goals are continuing. Student achievement has gone up during the past five years, and students are practicing Tiger Pride. We are excited to help our students to grow academically and be prepared for their futures. The bar is high for our teachers, administrators and staff to support our students to be even better this school year!
We have many new staff with us for 2017-2018. They are all getting orientation and hitting the ground running! We have new people in these positions:
- District Nurse
- Half time Dean of Students at the Intermediate School,
- Assistant Principal at the Middle School,
- Director of Teaching and Learning,
- 16 Teachers,
- Several Paraprofessionals, and
- Open positions for Food Service and Buildings and Grounds
We have three new positions this year. One position is a mathematics coach for grades K-5. Funding for this position was attained by securing a mathematics grant. Teachers will begin their work with the new coach by practicing the Number Talks strategy. Another one is an ADSIS teacher, or an academic interventionist, at the Primary School. Finally, we added 15 hours per week of custodian time, due to the additional space from referendum construction.
Half of our teachers in grades K-5 will be piloting a new mathematics textbook. Names of the series being considered are Math Expressions and Math in Focus. Both come to us highly recommended as resources to teach the Minnesota Mathematics Academic Standards.
We have developed plans for Outdoor Classrooms: one in the forest by the Primary School, another one between the Primary and Intermediate Schools, and a wild trail “classroom” by the Pioneer Cemetery. We will need community support to see these areas transform!
At the Primary School, students will get social skills and anti-bullying training from their teachers. Previously, this curriculum was taught on occasion by the school’s social worker. This year it is being adopted as a curriculum to teach regularly, by their classroom teacher. Another addition--we are adding second grade to our Spanish Immersion Program of preK through grade one.
Our Intermediate School is a nationally recognized school in Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports, and so it is no surprise they are working diligently on their new theme--Being an Upstander. Considerable teaching and learning will be done, in bullying prevention, standing up for others and advocating for yourself and others. Another new program this year is Total School Cluster Grouping. It is a system of placing students into classrooms, benefitting all students, by looking at instructional needs, allowing more support by the teacher, and fostering connections with academic peers. Having over 20 years of research, results have consistently shown student improvement at all levels.
At the Middle School, there will be a new sequence of mathematics acceleration for honors students. We saw the need to make high mathematical content accessible to students who show readiness regardless of age. We will start with a “Tier 2” for students with advanced achievement performance which will provide more rigorous instruction.
At the High School, we are implementing additional Advanced Placement courses. Advanced Placement Literature and Advanced Placement Human Geography will be running, to challenge our students. In the elective areas, we are offering more courses in Technology and Engineering, as well as Agriculture. One new course is Introduction to Trade Skills. Another one is the Unified Physical Education class, which brings special needs and other students together, learning in a partnership of inclusion.
New Digital Resources
Students in grades 4th, 8th, and 10th are receiving Chromebooks for digital learning. Now we have students in grades 3, 4, and grades 6 through 10 who have devices. There are iPod carts available in each of the grade levels in preK-grade 2.
A reminder for you all: students have broadband hotspots are available for their use. We know many of our families do not have affordable access to broadband Internet at home; to support our students outside of the school day, Princeton Public Schools provides Hotspots for checkout from the Middle and High Schools. Funding for these Hotspots was made available by the Minnesota Department of Education in a $45,000 grant.
New Website and Image
A new website has been rolled out, featuring the ability to access information easily on handheld devices, searchable topics, and organization that is consistent from school to school. Check it out at isd477.org.
We have a new tiger, and it will soon be visible on the Mark Park water tower! Each school has a consistent logo, as well as the district. We are hoping our families and community will be able to recognize us more readily by our new image.
We are happy to say our tennis courts are completed, as our tennis teams deserve beautiful facilities. It was quite a process, and painting and striping was completed last week.
The new soccer field by the high school is ready for seeding now, after sifting through the debris and removing pieces of the old South Elementary School. This soccer field will be ready to use in a year.
Our new Primary School was planned for eleven sections for each grade K-2, with flexible spaces in each grade level area, ready to finish into a classroom, should the need occur. It occurred already, and now we have 12 sections of K! Over the summer, a wall was added, along with carpeting, cabinetry, and other amenities to make the space a standard Kindergarten classroom.
The Family Center is currently getting a new roof, which has always been planned, in a process over the past two years. This is the final phase.
Student Services construction work included replacing both a retaining wall as well as back steps.
Our staff is ready to serve our students, and as you can see, we take continuous improvement seriously. We are looking forward to watching our students and families enjoy this new school year. To keep updated on district events and current news, go to isd477.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter at @isd477.
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