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Superintendent's Report 120713

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Well, winter appears to have arrived and things in the Morris Area School District continue to be very busy. This month, I would like to summarize the 2012-2013 financial audits, provide a brief introduction to the “World’s Best Work Force,” and (as much as I may not want to) share when potential snow/weather make up days will be, if necessary. 

2012-2013 Financial Audits At the November School Board Meeting, the Morris Area School Board approved/accepted 2012-2013 audits for ISD 611 (Cyrus) and for ISD 769 (Morris). The table below illustrates the result of each district for the 2012-2013 school year as of June 30, 2013. The complete audits for each district, as well as summary/overview materials for each district, can be found in the School Board section of the www.morris.k12.mn.us website – those documents are listed in “District Finances.”       

World’s Best Work Force During the 2013 Legislative Session, legislation (Minnesota Statute 120B.11) was passed mandating school districts develop a plan to create the “World’s Best Work Force.” The new statute has many components, many of which are focused on career and college readiness for graduates. Measures to determine school district and each school’s progress toward create the World’s Best Work Force include (at least):

• Student performance on the National Association of Education Progress (NAEP);

• The size of the academic achievement gap by student subgroups (such as special education and free and reduced lunch);

• Student performance on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA’s);

• High school graduation rates; and

• Career and college readiness under the statewide testing and reporting system.

A plan will be developed that aligns with the World’s Best Work Force to support and improve teaching and learning that includes:

• Clearly defined student achievement goals and benchmarks,

• A process to evaluate each student’s progress toward meeting state and local academic standards,

• A system to review and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction and curriculum,

• Practices that integrate high quality instruction, rigorous curriculum, instructional technology, and a collaborative professional culture,

• Evidence-based strategies for improving curriculum, instruction, and student achievement, and

• An annual budget for continuation of district plan implementation.

Over the remainder of the school year (and beyond), staff and administration will need to examine what we are currently doing that can be included as part of an overall “World’s Best Work Force Plan,” what might be missing from these new statutory requirements, and what we need to do to ensure compliance with this statute. Fortunately, we already do many things that will mesh well with the plan that needs to be developed, including site and district goals, professional learning communities, and assessing students throughout the year using the Measures of Academic Progress online student assessment.  

Potential Make Up Days While we all hope we will not have to miss any days of school due to the weather, there are certainly winters where Mother Nature decides we are not going to get everything we want.  Please note that Dec. 23, Jan. 21, Feb. 17, March 14 and April 21 are days we currently do not have school on but that would be used as make up days if necessary.    

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

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