June 5, 2015
It's here! As we wrap up yet another successful school year I’d like to take a moment to express my appreciation on behalf of the school board, the administrative team and most importantly – on behalf of our students!
This year we reached out to the community for input in ways that simply haven’t happened in the recent past! We engaged all 16 municipalities that encompass our district in our referendum discussions last fall. The willingness of hardworking people to at least listen to the “story” that we shared and make informed decisions was exactly what it means to be a part of a community! A whopping 61% approval to invest in our schools for the long haul...what a statement we have made about how we value our kids and their education!
Additionally, we asked for input on our strategic planning. I look at strategic planning as setting the guideposts by which all decisions are made. Schools do not operate in isolation, but as an integral part of their communities. That is exactly why it was so important to host nine different community forums to ensure everyone had the opportunity to talk to us about what they appreciate about the School District of Black River Falls, and what challenges we should tackle next. We talked a GREAT deal about what values we hold most dear. This is where I believe we truly come TOGETHER as a community. We value student success, pride in our accomplishments, trusting relationships, celebrating diversity, partnering with all stakeholders, and are committed to excellence in teaching and learning. Who could argue with having these as our guideposts? You’ll be seeing our Vision 2020 Strategic Plan coming out later this summer and ready for a kick off in the fall. Thank you for taking the time to provide your input and sharing your perspectives with us! The guideposts have now been set and we plot our course toward our goals for the next five years.
As we head into summer, we know the hard work is far from over, but we have built an incredibly strong foundation to guide our work moving forward! Our kids are getting more opportunities for individualized learning than ever before, our staff continues to have achievement scores moving in the right direction, our students are afforded opportunities to work with up to date technology, our facilities will reflect the pride we have in our schools, and Tiger Pride continues to grow!
Speaking of facilities, I’d love to take a quick moment to update you on our progress! The HS and MS projects will be ready for a community-wide Tiger Tailgate Party Grand Opening on Friday, August 28th. This is the first Tiger football home game of the season. We will be providing tours of the new spaces as well as replacing the 1962 time capsule and installing a new 2015 time capsule for future generations to uncover.
As far as the elementary portion of our facility work, we are finalizing plans and preparing bid packages as we speak. We will be hosting a groundbreaking for the new elementary school the week of July 20th. I will certainly let everyone know the details as it gets closer. We are planning a community event where kids can come and get their picture taken on the earth moving machines; we’ll have renderings of the building as well as kick off our “Name the New School” contest. The elementary project is slated for completion for August of 2016.
One last bit of exciting information...We also asked for input in updating our Tiger logo. We received over 20 submissions and landed on four choices that the community voted on. We now have our winner! This will prominently be displayed on center court of our new field house beginning next January, as well as popping up all over our district facilities. Thanks to those that submitted and voted!
I am thrilled with the direction we are moving together. I want to very earnestly thank the District and community for giving me the opportunity to serve in this role. My passion lies in connecting school and community to make Black River Falls a place we can all be proud to call home!
Your partner in education,
Dr. Shelly Severson