Investing in academic achievement
For the first time in more than a decade, our school district is reinvesting in academic achievement in a significant way. The recently approved operating and technology levies are helping to stabilize the district’s budget. They’re also freeing up room to begin building back some of what was lost in years of budget cutting.
Voters were told that the first priority for any new revenue available to our schools would be to improve academic achievement (Levy 2021). Through the resourceful use of levy dollars, state funding, and local and federal grants, we’re putting our money where our mouth is.
In the coming year, we’re supporting quality learning for our students by:
Improving our curriculum review process to ensure students have up-to-date textbooks and instructional resources. In the past we’ve had to delay updates to our curriculum, and go without materials necessary to meet current academic standards.
Resuming ongoing professional development, which had been significantly reduced in previous years due to budget cuts and canceled altogether during COVID. This ensures our teachers and support staff receive the training they need to implement curriculum and keep up-to-date in the best practices for our classrooms.
Rebuilding the Teaching & Learning department, which was decimated by previous rounds of budget cuts. We now have curriculum and instruction experts in place to support our teachers, plan and lead professional development, and guide the curriculum review process.
We’re providing more academic support for kids needing extra help by:
Utilizing student performance data to identify learning needs and supports
Ensuring teachers have the necessary instructional materials to accelerate learning
Employing staff to support academic engagement and student conferencing
Offering multiple levels of intervention programming and individualized tutoring
We’re supporting emotional and mental health of our students by:
Providing school social workers to work with students and families in all of our schools.
Partnering with community organizations to ensure a mental health therapist is available to students in each of our buildings.
Employing a Safe & Supportive School Specialist to support social and emotional learning and mental health district-wide.
Stillwater Area Schools have been striving to increase student achievement for some time. Budget reductions,the COVID pandemic, and other factors have contributed to a lack of progress. However, it is our responsibility to address factors for which we have some control. And that’s why we’re doubling down on achievement and investing our resources where they can make the biggest impact.
Want to get involved in setting priorities for our schools?
Watch for more information on our strategic planning process, which will be gearing up later this fall. We’ll be asking our community to help us create a vision for our school and create a plan to take us there.
In Other News
In his first column, our new superintendent, Dr. Funk, explains how the district is reinvesting in academic achievement in a significant way.
In the past two years as the leader of this school district, I’ve come to understand and experience “community” in an entirely new way.
Unstable funding and a history of budget cutting is negatively impacting our ability to serve kids.
There are many words that can be used to describe this past year. But to me, the word remarkable tops my list.
Guest columnist Jeremy Schurr shares his observations on a challenging school year and the ways we've all come together for kids.
Districts across the state are facing enrollment decline and resulting financial challenges.
Guest columnist Jeremy Schurr shares his observations on how the pandemic has brought us all together for our kids.
Beginning a new school year in the midst of a pandemic has proven to be a challenge for everyone.