Archived Story

FF schools and tragedy in Conn.

Published 12:12pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

The nation, and especially schools, are in shock and saddened over the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn.  Twenty-six students and staff lost their lives in a senseless act of violence.
National security experts commented that the school had good procedures in place and they were followed. The heroic acts of many staff members avoided a greater loss of lives.
Unfortunately, we can never say for certain that the tragedy in Newtown couldn’t happen elsewhere. Our School District will continue to follow existing procedures and policies at all times to ensure student and staff safety.
All visitors to our buildings are required to report to the office, sign in and receive a badge to identify themselves. All school buildings practice routine fire, tornado, Code Red and Code Yellow drills.
Our administrators will be meeting this week to review the current procedures to make certain that best practices are set in place.
If you have questions regarding our policies, please contact my office. It takes an entire community to ensure a safe environment.

Congratulations
to Gary Schuler
Once again we are celebrating Gary Schuler’s achievements. He was recently name 8AAA Activities Director of the Year and is now in the running for the award of State Activities Director of the Year.
Below are excerpts from a letter of support I wrote for his state application:
“Mr. Schuler’s achievements and qualities as an activities director make him a strong candidate for the state AAA Activities Director of the Year award. He is the first at work in the morning and the last to leave at night — all because he loves what he is doing and has a passion for kids. He leads, advises, and protects his coaches. Through his leadership and high expectations, our school has led the conference in sportsmanship awards, while winning many conference titles.
“During Gary’s induction into the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame banquet this fall, he shared that his first teacher and coach stressed three points that he used during his coaching career: Be on time, work your butt off, and be nice to people.
“Gary connects with students who are struggling and need support and encouragement. He gives students sincere compliments and shows he cares.  Every morning, Gary is found in the students’ common area greeting students by name and giving a ‘fist bump’ to many. It’s special to watch how he connects with kids.
“The Fergus Falls Public Schools and community are very fortunate to have Gary Schuler teach, coach and mentor our students and staff.”

TIMS Report
very encouraging
I was very pleased and encouraged by Minnesota’s results in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMS). Every four years the study reports the results of their testing of fourth- and eighth-grade students around the world in 57 countries, provinces and states.
This year is unique because Minnesota and seven other states entered themselves as countries to see how they compare internationally.
Minnesota only entered the eighth grade math and science scores and fared very well. Minnesota placed sixth in the world in science and seventh in the mathematics.
We scored ahead of Finland in both tests even though their education system is being studied as one of the best in the world. Massachusetts is the only state that scored better than Minnesota.
The top eighth-grade math performers on the 2011 TIMS Study were: Korea 613, Singapore 611, Taiwan 609, Hong Kong 586, Japan 570, Massachusetts 561, Minnesota 545, Russian Federation 539, North Carolina 537, Quebec 532, and United States 509
The top eighth-grade science performers on the 2011 TIMS Study include: Singapore 590, Massachusetts 567, Taiwan 564, Korea 560, Japan 558, Minnesota 553, Finland 552, Alberta 546, Slovenia 543, Russian Federation 542 and Colorado 542.
Resource: Megan Boldt’s TIMS article in the Pioneer Press posted 12/11/12.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
My weekly column will return again during the week of Jan. 7.

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