The 2016-2017 School Year is Underway in the SDMA

The 2016-2017 School Year is Underway in the SDMA
Posted on 09/01/2016

The 2016-2017 school year officially started in the School District of the Menomonie Area (SDMA) with a student orientation day on Thursday, September 1. The first full day of school for all students was Friday, September 2. For the safety of our children, please remember to be extra careful when driving around town during the school year, and never pass a school bus when the lights are flashing.

This year’s school district calendar, which can be picked up at the SDMA Administrative Service Center or found on the SDMA website, is similar to the schedule that was used during the past couple of years. Other than the traditional Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Memorial Day holidays, students are scheduled to be in school for 176 weekdays between now and Friday, June 2. Graduation at Menomonie High School is scheduled for Saturday, May 27, 2017.

The two major breaks included in this year’s calendar are winter break (December 23-January 1) and spring break (March 11-March 19). Students and staff will also have scheduled time off on October 21, November 25, and April 14.

This year’s calendar includes a few days spread throughout the year for staff professional development (October 20, November 23, January 16, and February 24). This time is very important for keeping our school district’s teachers and support staff members updated with ever-changing mandates and best practices for K-12 education. Students are not to report to school on these dates, so the district has tried to schedule professional development opportunities on days that might be more convenient for families.

While it is understandable that there are some instances when children will need to miss school this year, it is very important that parents and students work together to promote good attendance. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “Students who attend school regularly have been shown to achieve at higher levels than students who do not have regular attendance.” Additionally, the NCES claims that absenteeism in students as early as kindergarten can have serious implications for later outcomes.

According to an article posted on by Hedy Chang and Cecelia Leong of Attendance Works, parents can help promote good school attendance by:
1. Establishing basic bedtime and morning routines.
2. Teaching children that attendance is important and showing them you mean it.
3. Finding out why children might seem reluctant to go to school.
4. Developing backup plans for getting to school.
5. Asking for help from school officials and others if you are experiencing tough times.

Should school families or stakeholders have any questions about the school district calendar or school attendance expectations, I invite you to visit with your school principal, see me at the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue, or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website (, and I regularly post school-related information on Twitter ( and Facebook (