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Morris Area Schools Superintendent's Report 050314

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This month, I would like to continue to update everyone on our preparation for the 2014 – 2015 school year and share a few personal thoughts and observations.

The 2014-2015 school year will be a year filled with many updates, new faces, and “firsts” in ISD 2769. Even though I have only been an educator for twenty-five years, it seems that each year brings about new requirements and necessary changes. While schools are certainly responsible for implementing these requirements and bringing about (often positive) changes, these do place additional strains on stakeholders in each district.

In 2014 – 2015, the Morris Area School District will begin to utilize a new Teacher Development Plan designed to support excellence in teaching and strengthen the district’s ability to attract, develop, and retain highly effective professionals. Because of recent legislation, we will need to review and potentially revise the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program currently in place in our district and ensure that it meets state requirements for the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act. In addition to having students prepare for college, more emphasis will be placed on career readiness for students, specifically when they enter ninth grade. All of these changes will require many stakeholders, especially staff, to invest significant resources, yet they will also result in even better learning, schools with even less bullying, and students who are even more prepared for life after graduation from Morris Area High School.        

I want to share two thoughts I have with you… maybe they are more observations than they are thoughts. I first want to say thank you to parents in the district. I am not a parent, but I have a deep respect for the variety of things that parents do, not only for their own child(ren) but also for neighbor’s children, relatives’ children, and friends’ children. An example of this is the number of parents who wait to give rides – sometimes for a long time – to their child(ren) and others after the students get out of a sports or activity practice…or how long parents sometimes wait for the bus to get back from the variety of locations that our teams and groups travel to and from. I hope our students thank their parents for doing things like this, but I want to say thank you on their behalf, as well as on behalf of our staff especially coaches, advisors, and directors.

The second thought or observation I want to share is that students, staff, parents, and community members have the chance to be a part of something very good (if not great). Our district has so many wonderful things going on that we should all be proud of – great students, talented and hard working teachers and support staff, fantastic facilities, and multiple ways to get involved. I see great things happening every day, many of which students in other districts may not be able to experience. While I am certainly not naïve enough to think everything is perfect, the Morris Area School District is a really good place to work, go to school, send children to, and call our own. It is sometimes easy for all of us, including me, to spend time thinking and talking about things that we would like to be different, yet I would encourage everyone to take a moment to keep all the good things in mind as well.

If you have questions or wish for additional information about something, feel free to contact me. I can be reached at 320-589-4840 or smonson@morris.k12.mn.us. Thank you for taking time to read this.  

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