Back to School in the SDMA

Back to School in the SDMA
Posted on 09/01/2015

This week celebrated the return of students to the School District of the Menomonie Area for the 2015-2016 school year. Over the next nine months, SDMA teachers and staff will work toward the district’s shared mission of helping children in our community prepare to be lifelong learners, caring individuals, and responsible citizens. Over the next 36 weeks, our students will be expected to demonstrate achievement in reading, math, and other academic areas, while further broadening themselves with experiences in the fine arts, career and technical education, athletics, and many other clubs and co-curricular activities.

With only 176 student days scheduled for the 2015-2016 school year, it is very important that good attendance is promoted by both parents and the school district. Certainly, we do not want students to report to school if they are ill, but missing school can result in a significant loss of learning opportunities. Some suggest that having regular routines at home, eating a well- balanced diet, getting plenty of exercise and rest, and frequently washing hands can keep children healthier and better prepared to learn. If an absence is needed, it is important to let the school office know in a timely manner, and to follow up with any make-up work or assignments as needed. 

In addition to celebrating the start of another school year, the SDMA will also be celebrating the completion of the construction projects and facility renovations associated with the 2013 referendum. At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, all school stakeholders and district residents are invited to attend a Grand Opening event scheduled to be held at Menomonie High School. After a brief dedication ceremony, the building will be open for tours, while refreshments and school meal samples will be provided by the school district’s food and nutrition program.  Since significant renovations were also completed at Downsville and River Heights elementary schools last summer, those facilities will also be open for the public from 4:00-5:30 p.m. on that date. 

Not only is the school district excited to show off our newly updated facilities, but, more importantly, we want to extend a sincere THANK YOU to all of our electors and taxpayers who were instrumental in providing the children in our community with such a wonderful and safe school environment. There is no doubt that students in Menomonie have been provided an environment capable of preparing them for their futures in higher education and the workplace. 

The completion of the facility projects in the SDMA is part of a larger vision that was developed during a collaborative strategic planning process that greatly involved the school district community. “The Great Conversation”, which included 17 different listening sessions with over 500 members of the community, led to the adoption of a new district strategic plan in the fall of 2012.  Many of the identified goals have already been accomplished, but work toward the strategic plan continues. Task teams regularly monitor progress in each of the six areas of the plan, and an annual review of the strategic plan is conducted each November.

The six strategic areas identified by our community and school district stakeholders during “The Great Conversation” include:

  • Learning Experience: An emphasis on strengthening curriculum, instruction, assessment, and accountability systems in the district.
  • Technology: An emphasis on the integration of technology.
  • Facilities: An emphasis on developing a vision and plan for the future of our facilities.
  • Personnel: An emphasis on providing highly effective staff.
  • Resources: An emphasis on maximizing available resources.
  • Community Engagement: An emphasis on enhancing and expanding partnerships and public relations.

What are the next steps for continuing “The Great Conversation”? We need your help!

Facilitators for each of the six strategic areas will schedule town hall-style meetings to further discuss the goals and actions related to that part of the strategic plan. The main focus of these meetings will include sharing what has already been accomplished and prioritizing updated short-term and long-term goals. After considering stakeholder input, a modified action plan will be developed for the school board to review.

The schedule for the town hall meetings related to the various strategic areas will be as follows:

Technology: September 22- 4:30 pm            Facilities: September 23- 5:30 pm, MHS Library
Learning Experience: October 1- 4:00 pm    Community Engagement: October 8- 5:30 pm

Personnel: October 12- 5:00 pm                   Resources: October 14- 5:00 pm

*All meetings  are scheduled to be held at the Administrative Service Center unless otherwise noted.

In addition to attendance by the designated task teams, all parents, community members, and other school district stakeholders are welcomed and encouraged to attend the town hall meetings. A summative report will be presented to the school board at a meeting scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 23, 2015. Should anyone wish to provide additional input, or if you are unable to attend the scheduled meetings, please feel free to send your comments to my attention at the Administrative Service Center located at 215 Pine Avenue NE in Menomonie.