Superintendent's Update

April 2015

Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday May 5th

I have worked in 6 other districts in my career starting in 1983 when I taught high school students who had been placed by the courts in a residential school. My salary was $8,500 a year and I taught 8 am to 5 pm daily and a half-day each Saturday. My first administrative job was in my hometown and at one time both of my daughters attended my middle school. (This was very convenient for them for rides to and from school and for acquiring forgotten lunch money.) I have taught and led in a variety of communities, all unique with amazing children. But, as I told Laura Francis and Jon Brayshaw at our monthly meeting on Thursday, District 13 has something really special. Our students are remarkable. I would truly designate as a "teacher" anyone who influences the lives of children in our district. Our teachers are kind and capable, resourceful and responsible. There is level of commitment and joy coupled with outstanding skill that is unparalleled. Please take some time now or next week to reach out to any staff member who has positively influenced your child, and let them know you appreciate them. And, thank you for the incredible students you send to us each day.

Sustain, Strengthen and Prepare

For the past few months I have written about the proposed budget for next year. In this update I want to underscore the fact that we have an incredible district because of the amazing students, staff and parents that contribute to what happens here. We are also supported by two unique communities. This year's budget has staff reductions based on declining enrollment and a total 13 FTE's reduced over the course of the past two years. Staffing cuts will continue in subsequent years as our trend of declining enrollment persists. The additions that have been proposed for next year's budget embody our mission, support our goals and will serve to support our continued improvement across the district. The proposal includes a continuation of last year's initiative to have Chromebooks in the hands of all high school students, with the deployment of Chromebooks to all Juniors and Seniors. Staffing increases include a Technology Support Specialist, a Human Resources and Business Assistant, and the reinstatement of a half-time custodial position. Additional funding has been allocated to support Cross Country at Strong Middle School and Girls' Tennis at CRHS. Purchased services increases include security enhancements, an updated enrollment study, continued engineering work to accompany the work of the Utilization Committee, and a study to examine employee benefits. Finally, there is some funding ($35,000) to continue our work in the examination of safety and security across all of our schools and further support for some of the health and wellness needs identified in our student population.

I will be working with the Board, administrators, staff and parents next year as we begin the transition process that is a result of rapidly declining enrollment. The Utilization Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Education on May 13th to close Korn School at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. If the Board supports this recommendation, we will begin our work in district to plan for a smooth and seamless transition as the students and staff move to Brewster School. This will be step one as we move to a 2 elementary school configuration in the next several years.

Parent Survey

In the Fall many of you responded to a Parent survey. In order for us to gauge our progress, specifically in a few areas, the link below will bring you to a follow-up survey. Additional items are attached as required by the State Department of Education. These additional 8 items have been added to the end of the survey and are specifically designed to give schools information on students', staff and parents' perception of school safety or school climate. Please take a few moments to complete the survey: Comprehensive School Climate Survey. The survey will close on May 22nd.