It seems only a few days ago that I was tasked with writing my first Message from the Superintendent and now, a year later, I begin the process of writing my second message. In reflecting on the past year, I am proud of the progress of the District, and will continue to work with the administrative team to identify and plan further improvements for the 2018-2019 school year.
During the last year, it was a District goal to increase communication with our parents, guardians, and community. Working toward that goal, we instituted a mass communication program, Skylert, to better communicate with our patrons in the event of a weather related emergency school closure as well as provide an efficient avenue for news releases. Skylert allows us to efficiently send recorded phone messages as well as email messages to parents and guardians. We believe that this program has helped us improve our communication. Another step towards our improved communications goal was to increase the number of parent contact efforts. Our staff made and documented more than 6000 parent contacts during the last school year as we believe that working together with the parents/guardians is the best way to help our students learn and achieve.
A second focus was to review and adjust school policy so that it matched the needs of our students, parents, community, and insurance providers as well as state and federal mandates. The Board has adopted amendments to our teacher and administrator evaluation process, co-curricular athletic code, co-curricular drug testing, facility use, and attendance policies. These policy changes improve safety, clarify our expectations and will help us develop students that will be college and career ready.
Over the summer, we have completed two projects that I feel will best promote school safety as well as make our schools more welcoming to our families and patrons. The first one was to move the office entrance of Heyburn Elementary School to the main floor and the second one was to create a direct school office entry at St. Maries Middle School. Visitors to both buildings will now be identified by staff as they enter the building and will be provided with appropriate access. Visitors will no longer be asked to climb an additional set of stairs or have direct access to students as they pass through the halls making their way to the school offices in these two buildings.
In the upcoming year, we plan to continue to grow and refine our school system to meet the demands of educating our children as we are “Committed to Quality Education.” Please join us in making the schools in St. Maries Joint School District #41 the best place possible for our children to learn and grow.
Alica Holthaus, Superintendent