Thank you to our students, families, teachers, and staff for another great start to the school year. As always, our focus is on raising the bar and enabling students to learn, grow and achieve.
Over the last few years, the district has focused on improving teaching and learning while simultaneously containing costs.
I’m pleased to report that tremendous strides are evident in both areas.
Thanks to our fiscally grounded approach coupled with the passage of an operating levy three years ago, the district’s financial picture is transformed. Instead of facing a $10.5 million deficit at the start of this year as was projected in the five-year forecast three years ago, we instead have a $14 million surplus in our general fund. While we still have financial challenges ahead, we will continue to be the best stewards of the tax-payers money that we can be.
This didn't happen by luck or magic. We - meaning our Board of Education, district administrators, teachers and staff - have been intentional in efforts to reduce expenditures. In doing “more” with less. And the “more” can be found in our commitment to raising the bar for academics as prescribed in the district master plan through Revitalized Instruction.
Over the course of the last year and a half, it is like the academic program is on steroids. First, with the hiring of Dr. Jill Hollandsworth, Director of Curriculum and Technology, a five-year cycle for curriculum review was established. Regular review of the curriculum is a critical part of optimizing student learning experiences.
The English Language Arts curriculum was the first to be reviewed by English teachers who also researched and selected new programs for instruction. The new Board of Education approved programs are being implemented in the 2022-2023 school year. The review process for math is next.
Other beneficial academic additions/changes include:
The addition of new AP courses at the high school.
The addition of a new semester-long health and fitness course for 8th-graders.
The creation of a double block of time for language arts instruction at the middle school..
Revised and Board approved graded course of study for our required College and Career Readiness Course.
Instructional technology is an essential component of the academic program. Technology, when used interactively as part of instruction, is a tool that can elevate teaching and learning while also preparing students for life after New Richmond Schools.
To this end, the district recently purchased new interactive displays for each classroom. They are replacements for the aged-out smart boards and, among other things, can enhance both in-person and remote learning experiences. The cost for the new displays was covered with federal COVID-19 relief funds, funds from the technology department budget which were earmarked for Smart Board repairs, and unspent funds appropriated to the buildings for the 2021-2022 school year.
“We want our students to learn and grow. To do so, these changes are important and are in alignment with the four critical questions introduced three years ago to guide our instruction. The four critical questions are:
What do we expect our students to learn?
How will we know they are learning?
How will we respond when they don't learn?
How will we respond if they already know it?
Thank you again for a great start to the 2022-2023 school year.