Columnist: From the Desk: By Jeff Drake

The Fergus Falls Public Schools 2019-20 school year is officially underway amid blue skies and glorious sunshine!  It is exciting to have students back in the building again and we look forward to a great year ahead.

“Can our school be so welcoming, so inviting and so comfortable that every person who walks through our doors believes they are going to have an amazing experience?” from “How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your School and Classroom,” by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Ian Pumpian. As a staff, each of us is committed to creating an environment that will support all students in reaching their potential. That means that we will establish high expectations, hold each other and our students accountable, and provide the necessary support and guidance to students. We will also celebrate our successes.

Although I have only been here a very short time, it is apparent that Fergus Falls Public Schools has everything necessary to provide an exceptional educational experience. We have an outstanding staff, diversified programming to include a unique partnership with the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, an ALC, iQ Academy, excellent vocational programs and strong support for the fine arts. There is academic rigor. The high school offers numerous college credit courses and our classrooms are equipped with the latest in educational technology to support instruction.

We offer the opportunity for students to participate in a wide array of cocurricular programs ranging from athletics, academics and the arts. The addition of Lincoln School (the former Target building) will enhance our early childhood programs. Our sincere hope is that each and every student will take full advantage of the many opportunities to learn, grow and reach their potential and that you are proud of your school district.

Speaking of school pride, Otter Pride Night is this Friday, Sept. 6.  We encourage the community to join us in celebrating the start of a new school year.  Activities for families will take place in the Gold Gym from 5-7 p.m. with lots of games and prizes.  There will also be a bouncy house! The 544 Education Foundation will be serving a delicious taco in a bag meal for only $5 and the proceeds benefit our students.  Wear your maroon and gold and stay for the football game to cheer on the Otters as they host the DGF Rebels.

Finally, a few words of appreciation.  Many thanks are due to the employees who work behind the scenes to ensure the successful start of a new school year.  June, July and August is an especially busy time for custodians and building maintenance employees as they deep clean the buildings and tackle larger projects that can’t be easily addressed when school is in session.  Ditto for our technology department who were busy with several enhancements that will aid our teachers in delivering dynamic instruction.  From the office staff who greet and serve the public to the business office that keeps the district running smoothly and to human resources and our principals who work tirelessly to make sure the district is fully staffed – thanks for all you do.  Most importantly, thanks to the Fergus Falls community for your support and to our families who place their faith in us to care for and educate their children.  It is both an honor and privilege to work with children and the trust you have placed in us is recognized.  I very much look forward to working with you – together, we are going to have a wonderful school year.

Jeff Drake is the superintendent of Fergus Falls Public Schools.

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