Superintendent Column


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Working Together to Be the Best

September 2021

Once the first jitters of the year wear off, the start of a new school year often marks the start of new friendships, new experiences, and new opportunities. At the District and school levels, we are excited to launch some new and innovative practices and projects with a goal of putting our schools on track to become the best in the nation.

To do that, we have developed District Priorities for the coming year. Our focus is on five key areas: Academic Success, Well-Being, Community Engagement, Staff Excellence, and Effective Use of Resources. SFSD staff own this work collectively and we are committed to continuous improvement in these areas. We invite parents/guardians to partner with us in these efforts because we are stronger when we work together.

One such initiative is simple, yet powerful. We are teaming up with the Siouxland Libraries to elevate and promote literacy. Our “Reading Together” initiative is just starting to take shape and will be a year-round effort to strengthen the community focus on this important and enjoyable skill. There are many reasons to read: to learn and increase knowledge, to expand vocabulary, to improve focus and comprehension, to reduce stress, and to improve your overall health and wellness. You will hear more about our plans through your schools and through your local libraries.

Another goal we have is to link every student with an out-of-school activity that is meaningful to them. Research tells us engaged students are more successful and more hopeful about their future. Sioux Falls has so much to offer, and we’ll be encouraging students to get connected through clubs, fine arts or sports opportunities at school, the various after-school programs throughout the community, doing volunteer work, and mentoring.

When students know a caring adult is in their corner, cheering for their success, research tells us they are less likely to participate in risky behaviors. Instead, they are more likely to see value in activities that propel themselves into a positive future. We hope you will join us in these efforts. It will take all of us working together to become the best school district in the nation. It is a big goal. With your help, we know we can achieve it.