August 31, 2018: Welcome Back!

Spotlight August 31, 2018

Hello Black River Falls community!  Welcome back for another year of our Spotlight on Schools!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson, Superintendent of the School District of Black River Falls, and I’m so excited to be here with you kicking off the 2018-2019 school year!  I’m guessing most of you have heard me say this before, but it is so true! Those of us in the field of education have the opportunity for an incredible “fresh start” each fall. While those of us that live in the district office, as well as our custodial and maintenance staff and a few select others, work 12 months as opposed to the school calendar, we are afforded this incredible build-up and excitement for the ability to hit the reset button each and every year!  

When I’ve run into parents around town this summer, some have been anxiously awaiting September 4th since well before August began. Of course, some parents wish the freedom of schedule that summer provides would go on much longer! Regardless of where parents fall on the spectrum, we know there is enthusiasm for the first days of school.

We always take time to celebrate our successes, but have this incredible ability to take careful thought and care into planning our improvement efforts and what we’d like to do differently in the coming year.  There’s a quote that says, “A teacher may teach fifth grade for 30 years, but a student only learns fifth grade once.  Make it all that it can be for those students.”  That could easily be transferred to any experience kids have at school.  We, as the adults, may do it year after year, however our goal and responsibility is to make sure each group of students have the best experience possible each and every year!  THAT is what makes our work so exciting!  We are thrilled to welcome the students and families back for all the excitement and new learning that comes with a new school year.

We have some new faces in our staff for the year, but our turnover was really minimal compared to some recent years.  One of the goals of our strategic plan is to be able to attract AND retain the highest quality staff available.  We believe that our continued work to create a positive work environment, that supports each of them in their efforts, is really starting to take hold and people are choosing to work for the SDBRF instead of the many other choices.  Please watch the Banner Journal for their insert that introduces all of our new staff members!

We also onboarded three new administrators.  We are thrilled to welcome Melanie Floyd as the principal at Forrest Street Early Learning Center, Laura Simonson is now the principal at Red Creek Elementary, where she had previously served as the assistant principal; Jimi Zawacki joined us as the new assistant principal; and finally, we are celebrating with Chris Stalheim who has transitioned from teaching science at the high school to being the new assistant principal.  The entire administrative team and their staffs are ready to do all they can to make this the best year yet!

I would like to end each of these broadcasts sharing some comments from our perception surveys that are given out each year in February.  A Forrest Street parent wanted to recognize Barb Gluch, a long time special education teacher in the district.  “Barb Gluch goes above and beyond for her students AND their families.  It is obvious she loves her students.”

As always, if you have any questions about this, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  Enjoy the remaining days of summer and don’t forget to show your Tiger Pride in all that you do!



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