The Nov. 15 school board meeting started off with a presentation from Curriculum Director Kristie Sullivan on the “World’s Best Workforce” report. The report was a review of the district’s strategic plan to prepare students for success in the classroom, in their communities and beyond. Sullivan’s presentation focused on five main goals; school readiness and kindergarten readiness, third-grade literacy, closing achievement gaps, career and college readiness and high school graduation.
The report noted room for improvement in third grade literacy numbers. Third grade reading scores within the district were down in 2020, as were the state’s scores. Sullivan noted that the pandemic may have negatively affected these numbers, “But still, overall our numbers are strong, compared relatively to the state’s,” she said.
In regards to career and college readiness, ACT scores were right on par with the state average. Additionally, eighth grade math proficiency scores were discussed, “...it is because algebra proficiency is cited as one of the number one reasons for dropouts nationwide,” explained Sullivan. Fergus Falls eighth-grade math proficiency was at 66.7 percent compared to the state average of 39.8 percent.
Work based learning continues to show success. Two career fairs are taking place at KSS this year, one that occurred in Oct. and another one to be held in the spring of 2022. The automotive department continues to provide students with automotive experience, preparing them to enter the workforce.
“We continue to offer a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program here which includes class, lab and nursing home practicum hours,” added Sullivan. “In addition, we offer lots of technical education courses including small engines, woodworking, welding, business and automotive.”
A positive highlight from the report was that the overall four-year graduation rate at Kennedy Secondary School was 94 percent for 2020, ten percentage points above the state average.
The school board also received results from a recent audit. The district received an “unmodified” or “clean” report.