Everyone excited for school [UPDATED]Published 9:27am Thursday, September 5, 2013 Updated 11:29am Thursday, September 5, 2013
Welcome back to my weekly column on education. This will be my eighth year of writing columns in effort to keep the public up-to-date on educational issues, along with the happenings of District 544.
August is one of my favorite months of the year. It is when all the preparations for the school year get finalized and put into action.
It is energizing when the students and staff start returning for activities and trainings in anticipation for the first day of school on Sept. 3. We are looking forward for another great year of student achievements in academics, arts and activities.
The mission of the Fergus Falls Public Schools is to prepare productive citizens through academic excellence in partnership with families and community.
We review our mission with all staff on a regular basis. Our goal is to keep the focus on this mission with as few interruptions as possible.
The District values that guide our decisions and actions are: Integrity, Innovation, Respect, Responsibility, Accountability, and Enthusiasm.
As of last Monday, 187 students were registered to attend McKinley Elementary.
This is the second year in a row of such high numbers in kindergarten.
This is very exciting for us to see the District grow in our lower elementary. Enrollments in grades 1 through 8th grade are: Grade 1-188; Grade 2-152; Grade 3-150; Grade 4-159, Grade 5-142; Grade 6-160; Grade 7-175; and Grade 8-187.
Best Practice Network
Fergus Falls Public Schools, along with other area schools, has joined the Lakes Country Service Corporation’s Best Practices Network for the second consecutive year.
A training on Differentiated Instruction was held for our teaching staff on Monday, August 26. Dr. Sharon V. Kramer was the keynote speaker.
Staff will be meet monthly in Professional Learning Communities (PLC) to discuss student learning. A PLC is a small group of six to eight staff members.
They will have a trained leader working through an agenda. The use of PLC is an excellent way to train staff and is a component of the new teacher evaluation system that must be implemented by next fall.
Otter Pride Night
The 8th annual Otter Pride Night will take place on Friday, September 13. There will be many games and prizes from 5-7pm in the KSS Gold Gym. This event will be followed by the second home football game for the Otters vs Bemidji.
ACT Test Results
The end of August is when the ACT and Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments test results are announced. Our District has many successes on the tests – with room for improvement in some areas, as well.
The ACT is a college readiness test taken by 74 percent of all students in the State.
Fergus Falls scored a composite score of 23.0 out of 36.0 on the test. Minnesota was number one in the nation on the ACT where over 50 percent of the students took the test. Our score tied the state average.
Fergus Falls’ students exceeded the benchmarks in all categories. The benchmarks to determine if a student is ready for college in the four categories are as follows: 18-English, 22-Math, 22-Reading and 23-Science. Fergus Falls’ average score was above in each category: 21.9-English, 22.9-Math, 23.6-Reading, and 23.3-Science.
I would like to congratulate the students and staff on their strong showing on the ACT.
In next week’s column, I will share more information on the MCA results.