Superintendents sit in a unique position. We are the pivot point between the Board of Trustees and the rest of the district. My job contains the equally important roles of working with the board as well as working with our schools and our faculty and staff. As many of you know, the Board of Trustees is dealing with the issue of potential changes to the boundary lines for our trustee residence areas. A board committee is also discussing the voting structure for the district. This is an important issue and it has taken center stage for much of our media coverage recently. I can certainly understand this reason for this as it is a point of interest for many people.
That being said, I hope people understand that despite the sausage making that results from topics like redistricting, the district itself, our schools, and our students have some pretty amazing things going on:
- In a few weeks, construction is set to begin on a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station at the district bus facility. Over time the district will convert its bus fleet to CNG. This will not only provide environmental benefits for Sublette County, it will save the State of Wyoming money and utilize a Sublette County resource. A public fueling station is also being built so that local businesses, government agencies, and individuals can experience these benefits as well.
- An alternative setting for at-risk students is set to open next year at Pinedale High School. Funded through a business partnership with Encana, the alternative setting is designed to provide individualized programming to students who may be at-risk for not graduating.
- Also, debuting next year is a 1:1 mobile device initiative in grades 3-12. The district has invested heavily in technology and we are taking the next step in integrating technology and 21st Century skills into our curriculum and teaching methods.
- Planning is currently underway for a career academy to open at Pinedale High School for the 2013-2014 school year. The career academy will allow the district to offer more Career and Technical Education courses such as Green Construction, ProStart Culinary, and Energy Exploration. Students who complete these courses will receive industry standard certifications that will enable them to transition to a similar program in college or go directly in to the workforce if they so choose.
- Pinedale Elementary School has been accepted in to the Ellbogen Meritorious Schools program. This award is given to schools that achieve National Board Certification for 20% of teaching its faculty by 2017. It is anticipated that Pinedale Elementary School could reach that mark as early as the 2013-2014 school year.
- Student led programs like Pure Performance, Renaissance, Just Hit Delete and others like it are having a positive impact in our schools and making a significant change for the better to the overall culture. And there’s no shortage of success stories from our classrooms and within our extracurricular programs.
I know issues like redistricting have an important impact on how school boards are elected, and that in turn has an effect on how school districts operate. There’s no question we need to be focused on how this issue is resolved. I guess what I’m saying is that I hope everyone who’s focused on the redistricting issue, and even those that aren’t, can take some time to look at the other things that are happening in the district, because a lot of it is terrific and our students, staff, teachers and administrators are giving you a terrific effort this year.