Summers Off?

Summers Off?
Posted on 07/31/2014

Summertime in Wisconsin can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Swimming, camping, fishing, and biking are just a few of the many outdoor activities that our wonderful state has to offer both residents and visitors. Enjoying time on the water, watching ball games, and grilling dinner are three of my favorite summer pastimes. For many of us Wisconsinites, the weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day are jammed packed with one activity after another as we enjoy the beautiful weather.

Having worked as an educator for nearly two decades, I have often been asked, “Since the kids don’t have school in the summer, does that mean that you have the summers off?” While the summer provides a break from some of the more routine managerial responsibilities, there is much work being completed by the staff in and out of the school district. Like many other organizations, several staff members in the School District of the Menomonie Area are spending much of June, July, and August hard at work. 

Custodians and maintenance staff members have been quite busy this summer cleaning up after last school year and getting ready for a fresh start in September. Rooms and hallways are cleaned, waxed, and, in some cases, painted, and many maintenance projects are completed to keep our facilities safe and efficient. In order to provide an environment for student success, our custodians work to prepare the facilities to serve as a “home away from home” from September to June for many students, teachers, and staff members. This summer our custodial crew has been tasked with additional work related to the construction projects.

Administrators and support staff members spend much time during the summer creating schedules and updating policies and procedures to ensure that children in Menomonie are provided with an educational experience that will prepare all our students for their futures. With several facilities under construction this summer, school leaders are also tasked with making temporary, and, in some cases, permanent changes to room assignments and safety plans.  Figuring out how to best serve hundreds of students breakfast and lunch while supervising playgrounds, hallways, and other parts of the building can sometimes be a complex puzzle.  Principals are also busy hiring and providing training for new staff members, participating in professional development opportunities, and helping to supervise summer school programs.

Many teachers in Menomonie have continued to stay involved with students this summer by teaching summer school, coaching, or advising student activities. Others have continued to expand their knowledge and skills through master’s degree programs or other professional development opportunities. Some of these professional development opportunities have been facilitated by specialists in our district, and on July 29-30 several Menomonie teachers participated in the second annual “Summer Teacher Academy.” Sessions held at Wakanda Elementary School, but available for all district teachers, focused on several topics, including new accountability measures, creating student learning objectives, using iPads in the classroom, and uploading content to the school district website. 

At the Administrative Service Center (ASC), we are busy updating policies and procedures, tracking changes in enrollment, and working on other tasks such as managing the building projects. ASC staff members have been applying for grants, and working with auditors to close the books on the 2013-2014 budget year, which ended on June 30. We are also putting the finishing touches on the 2014-2015 budget, which will be presented at the Annual Meeting on August 25. (More information about the Annual Meeting will be shared in the next edition of School Crossings.)

Whether it is cleaning classrooms, teaching summer school, hiring new staff members, or attending conferences or seminars, staff members in the Menomonie Area School District are spending much of the summer dedicated to the mission of our school district. With this commitment and continued dedication we will continue to strive toward preparing ALL students to become lifelong learners, caring individuals, and responsible citizens. 

If you have questions or concerns about the school district, I invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact me at 715-232-1642. I will also continue to monitor email, maintain a blog on the school district website (, and regularly post school-related information on Twitter (