Superintendent December Newsletter
December 1, 2023
The Superintendent and District Goals
Goal 1. Increase the academic achievement of all students. The goal is to see another 10% or more of the students reach grade level in language arts, an increase from 37% to 47% or greater. In math, the goal is to see another 10% or more of the students reach grade level or beyond, an increase from 21% to 31% or greater.
The staff, administration team, and I monitor student progress each month. St. Maries will have significant student data to review and share in January or February. As a midyear point in time, we can see the progress and achievement St. Maries is making towards its end-of-the-year academic goal.
Goal 2. Expand the college and career readiness of our students. In working diligently with the high school CTE teachers and the principal, St. Maries High School was recently awarded two huge CTE grants. The most recent is the 1.28 million to construct a new CTE building, where the school will house the new auto-mechanic repair and forestry programs. The money also includes the cost of the new start-up equipment and tools.
Goal 3. Provide a safe, healthy, and inviting environment for all students. Schools promote respect, responsibility, and safety for staff and students. The students of the month are one way to recognize such respectful traits.
Goal 4. Improve communication between the school district and the community. As the new superintendent of St. Maries, the staff and I worked intentionally to increase the number of ways the school district and schools keep families informed, bolster parental rights, and engage the community.
Someone asked me the other day. How do I like St. Maries? And do I want to stay in St. Maries? I love St. Maries. The landscape is spectacular. The community cares deeply about each other and their youth. The school district is special! Yes, I want to remain in St. Maries and continue be a strength in the community and the school district.
Important Values extracted from the Strategic Plan
Some values that surface in conversation with staff and the community and some values that exist within the District Strategic Plan: (not in any specific order).
1. Quality instruction of skills and knowledge in the content areas
2. Quality staff
3. Community engagement
4. Collaboration and teamwork
5. A safe place for students
6. Extra curricular activities like athletics
**The Strategic plan with goals, actions, and values will be revisited and updated in January and February. The process will include staff, students, and families input.
- Our students continue to be the focus. We are all here working hard on behalf of the students
- Students of the month.
- Heyburn. See the pictures for the Heyburn students of the month. The students were recognized for showing encouragement to others.
- SMMS. You can also look at the picture for the SMMS students of the month. The SMMS students were recognized for showing preparedness.
- UpRiver. There is a picture of the UpRiver School’s students of the month. The UpRiver students were recognized for their hard work.
3. CTE Grant Awarded. SMHS was awarded a CTE grant for 1.28 million dollars. The money covers constructing a new CTE building for two new CTE programs: auto-mechanic repair and forestry. The funds will also cover the cost of the curriculum and the start-up tools and equipment. The high school would like to break ground this summer. Hopefully, the bid proposal will come to you in December for board approval.
Veteran Day Celebrations at the different schools
Legislature Dale Hawkins visiting UpRiver
Dale Hawkins spent time teaching students about the legislative branch of local government. Students asked great questions.
More Student Highlights
A Call of Action for Community and School Partnership
I continue to make a plea and a pledge to work together. I continue to notice that we have more in common ground than not. I hear a similar message when I talk with and listen to people. People want an education where kids are safe, where students are taught the content knowledge and graduate with knowledge, skill, and critical thinking to be successful adults, whether they enter the workforce or pursue higher education.
Many of us played sports in high school. We gained confidence and learned how to play as a team by playing sports. For example, players needed to run the same defense on the basketball court to win. On a football field, the quarterback listens to his coaches. Then, players need to run the same play that the quarterback called to win and go on to be champions. In the school district, winning is working together to reach the vision. The vision for St. Maries SD 41 is currently the following:
Provide an education where kids are safe, where students are taught the content knowledge, learn a skill, and go on to be successful and productive adults.
Tis the Season
Christmas time is my favorite time of the year. Before my younger sister died, it was her favorite holiday. Christmas became my favorite holiday as a way to remember my sister. My mom and dad ensure I get a tree the day after Thanksgiving. I promise to decorate the tree and the house – all in honor of my sister and their daughter. When my sister and I were younger, we loved the presents, the decorations, the Christmas carols, and the magic of Santa Claus with his reindeer and sleigh. As I grew older, the holiday was less about the presents (although they are still fun to receive – ha). The giving spirit of people keeps Christmas so magical and my favorite holiday. The giving spirit of the people in St. Maries is extraordinary, increasing the enchantment for Christmas time here in St. Maries.
Math Curriculum Committee
The math curriculum committee is comprised of 19 members; a blend of parents, staff, and a board member. The committee has met two times so far. there is a third meeting scheduled for November 30 at 4:30 pm. The committee members are committed to finding a quality math curriculum for St. Maries students and staff. There are several tools that the committee is using to evaluate and find a quality math curriculum.
The public can find the notes and the agendas for each meeting in the Teacher and Learner Page on the District Website. The public can attend the math curriculum committee meetings.
The public can view the different instructional materials that the committee is currently reviewing by visiting the District Office any weekday during business hours from October 23 through December 21.
Happenings in St. Maries SD 41
Dates to Calendar
November 30. The committee met on Thursday, November 30. The committee members have been busy assessing different math materials. The committee's top-ranked selection(s) will be the instructional materials that the staff then pilot (try) in the classroom. After the pilot, the committee will return and re-assess the top selection to see if they want to recommend forward the selection for adoption.
November/December. For the past two weeks, SMHS held a fundraiser for Hopes Haven Animal Shelter. The fundraiser continues. The winning class gets to throw pies at their favorite teachers. The high school is also hosting some other fun Christmas activities like decking (decorating) the hallway doors and decorating the gymnasium.
December 11. The next Regularly Scheduled Board Meeting, starting at 6:30 pm in the District Office.
December 12. UpRiver School Christmas Concert, starting at 5:00 pm in the UpRiver Gymnasium.
December 14. The Heyburn Elementary Christmas Concert. 5:30 pm at the St. Maries High School Gymnasium
December 19. St. Maries High School Concert. Stay tuned for the time and location.
Open Door Policy
Dr. Teresa Rensch, as the new superintendent, remains open to phone calls, emails, and face-to-face meetings. You can drop into the office or make an appointment. I appreciated the residents whom I had a chance to meet. I look forward to meeting more and more residents of St. Maries.