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Superintendent's Report 5-11-13

By the time this is published, there will only be a few short weeks of school left. The school year seems to go flying by faster each year. As we continue planning for the start of the 2013-2014 school year, there are a few things I want to provide a brief update on.

What the State Legislature does in St. Paul has an impact on what schools do and how we do it. While the legislative session does not end until May 20, we have somewhat of an idea what actions might come out of St. Paul that will affect us next year. Specifically, we anticipate a 1 percent increase in funding, changes to the assessments our students take and the overall testing program, and increased funding for school safety. For the following year, it appears there is support for fully funding all day, every day kindergarten. All of these changes could have a positive impact on our school district.

From now until the start of the 2013-2014 school year, there will be a variety of changes taking place. We will soon know if the consolidation of the Cyrus and Morris Area School Districts is final and, if everything continues moving forward, there will be a newly consolidated school, Morris Area School District, on July 1, 2013. We will have several new faces when we start school on Tuesday, Sept. 3 – many of the new faces will be students new to our district and we will have a variety of new staff members. Sixth grade students and teachers will be relocating to the middle part of our PreK-12 complex. I am confident the move will go well and provide us with unanticipated opportunities. Many of our elementary teachers will be moving to new room locations, as doing so will help us have true “pods” of each grade in the same location area – right now, several grades are spread out and interspersed with other grades in each pod. This will make collaborating with each other and sharing resources easier, both of which will benefit students and staff.

Earlier this school year, Morris Area Elementary School was recognized as a “Celebration School” by the Minnesota Department of Education. This recognition was based on several factors but was primarily focused on academic achievement. Last month, Morris Area High School was recognized by the U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s top public high schools. It was the fourth consecutive year that MAHS received this recognition, which is also based on academic achievement. While these recognitions are “focused” on either the elementary or the high school, I view them as more of a recognition of the efforts of our students and staff, PreK through grade 12.They are also a reminder of the outstanding parent and community support that we are fortunate to have.

The 2012-2013 school year has been a very good one. I attribute this to great students, a hard working staff, excellent parent involvement, and outstanding community support. If you have questions about something or wish for additional information, feel free to contact me. I can be reached at 320-589-4840 or