2018-10-14 / Viewpoints

Chalk Talk

By Anthony Berthiaume
Superintendent New Lothrop Area Schools

We are off and running into the second full month of school. My motto for the school year: Dedication. I sent a quick survey to district staff asking them how they perceive the culture and climate of the district after the first month of school. The survey has been out for nearly two weeks, and I am pleased to announce that 94 percent of the respondents have reported a very positive or positive start to the school year. You may ask yourself as a parent or community member why this result is so important to mention. I truly believe the more positive learning environment we can create for our students, the greater the impact we have on student learning in and out of the classroom. I want to give our district staff a tremendous amount of credit for the enthusiasm, energy, and dedication they bring each day to our students.

Students had the day off from school on Friday, Oct. 12 for teacher professional development. The focus of the day was reviewing assessment data, writing across the curriculum and text dependent analysis, instructional practices, and collaboration amongst grade level and departments. This day helped teachers and administration move forward on how best to produce quality instruction and support our students in the classroom.

For planning purposes, I would like to invite community members and staff to attend our open forum on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium regarding a potential bond proposal to the community in May 2019. At the event, we will review our recently completed facility audit, seek input, and provide an overview of the bond process. Receiving input from community members is crucial to the direction we take as a district. Community input will help ensure that we are aligned to the community needs.

We, as a district, must be able to provide a safe, productive, and positive learning environment for our students. The initiative that we are taking on together will allow the district to carry on our tradition of offering a quality education that is supported by a caring community. If you would like more information or would like to provide any input regarding a potential bond, please contact me at (810) 638-5091.

Our Parent/Teacher Conferences for grades kindergarten-12 will be held on Thursday, Nov. 1 from 1:30 - 7:30 p.m. We hope to see many parents in attendance to review their child’s progress. First quarter report cards for high school students will be handed out to those parents who attend the conferences. If you are unable to attend conferences, your student’s report card will be mailed home. Students will have a half day on Nov. 1. Please plan accordingly for that half day, as students will be released from school at 11:15 a.m. The following day, Friday, Nov. 2, both students and staff have the day off.

As in previous years, we are using SchoolMessenger to mass communicate with students, parents, staff and the community. SchoolMessenger will alert parents, students and staff of school delays/closings, parent/ teacher conference reminders, alternate bus routes (condensing a bus route because we do not have enough sub drivers; if interested in becoming a sub, please contact Mary Johnson at (810) 638-5400), and more. This communication tool will provide the district with the opportunity to communicate more effectively and efficiently with its stakeholders.

Finally, we look forward to what October brings. This month is career and college month in the high school, and of course the Halloween festivities students at the elementary partake in and enjoy. On behalf of the staff, I want to thank you for the support you have given us during the first month of school. We will continue to learn and grow as educators and strive for excellence, because our students deserve the best quality education possible. We take great pride in making sure we offer the best opportunities to our students in a safe and productive learning environment. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. My office phone number is (810) 638-5091.

Anthony Berthiaume, Ph.D.

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