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    Superintendent Message - January 2020

    Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent

    The calendar has turned over to the new year, and I found it just a bit disconcerting to actually write down the number 2020. I can remember when that date seemed very far away and almost had a science fiction type ring to it. 

    On the day before a break ends, I often think of children and adults and the range of emotions that can be part of returning to school and work. I see families making final trips to the store for lunch bag items and supplies for the week and I notice kids outside playing, using up some energy so everyone sleeps well that night. Undoubtedly, there is a mixture of excitement and anxiety about going to back to the regular schedule after being away from the routine. 

    Our District Strategic Plan – Elevate includes initiatives that are specifically designed to support people and even create some excitement about returning to school after a break! 

    One of the most helpful and foundational elements of a healthy mindset toward school is having a significant, positive relationship with a teacher or caring adult at school. 

    One of the ways we’re enhancing the ability to connect with students in meaningful ways is through training designed to create a learning environment where students are affirmed and engaged as valued members of their learning community, known as Culturally Responsive Teaching (Hammond, 2015). 

    When we view teaching and learning through a culturally responsive lens, it means that we intentionally focus on students and their unique cultural strengths while creating a classroom where they feel safe and motivated to learn, with a strong sense of connection to the adults and children they work with every day. It requires that we first examine our own culture and heritage, then seek to learn about and understand the cultures of others, and finally honor the specific cultures that come together uniquely in every classroom, our schools, and our district. 

    As we seek to be an increasingly culturally responsive district, we continue to examine the experiences of our students and families through the lens of equity, noticing the organizational factors that may affect the opportunities that our students have, and  improve our instructional practices. 

    Please check out the update on the progress we’re making toward all of the goals in our Strategic Plan. We’re proud of the work that is happening to strengthen our school district as we continue to focus on our Mission:  Each student will graduate prepared to lead a rewarding and responsible life as a contributing member of our community and greater society.  

    When we Elevate our Purpose, we know where we’re going. 

    When we Elevate our Practice, we get better along the way.

    Sincerely, 

    Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent