Message from Superintendent

 

March Message from Superintendent

 
Musical
March 25, 2019
 
Greetings to PRSD Students, Staff, and Families,
 
Although there were snow flurries in the air last week, it is officially spring and the fourth nine-week grading period has started. Regardless of the time of year, there are so many opportunities to celebrate the students, staff and Pine-Richland community. Guys and Dolls was an incredible success! In this picture, we see a full house for the Senior Citizen performance. The hard work and talent of the students – on stage, in the pit, and behind the scenes – brings our mission to life. This is a tremendous example of learning inside and outside the classroom. It is an excellent demonstration of effort and persistence. The picture also shows how learning requires everyone…students, staff, parents and community. Keeping in the theme of the arts, the Eden Hall Art Show was also conducted this month. Please take a few minutes to watch the video. Notice the attention given to the learning goals. Similar performance is being demonstrated in STEM, Technology Student Association, AFJROTC, Shakespeare Monologue, SkillsUSA, Odyssey of the Mind and more. We had a very successful winter sports season highlighted by the PR Ice Hockey team’s Class AA State Championship win! We have already begun competitions this spring.
On February 11th, the Pine-Richland School Board approved the administrative recommendation to adjust school start times beginning in the 2019 – 2020 school year. This topic has been studied since the fall of 2017 with a number of podcasts and communications shared in the last four months. Grounded in literature related to wellness, sleep and adolescents, this change is designed to provide a benefit to middle school and high school students while also minimizing the impact on primary school students and families. The feedback provided over the past few months – positive and critical – by stakeholders led to additional refinements and efficiencies in the structure. The HS/MS start time shifts from 7:20 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Eden Hall will shift from 8:30 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. The primary schools will shift from 9:15 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. Over the next few months, the district will address a variety of transition details that include additional updates for students, staff, parents, community, and local private/parochial schools. The most recent podcast on this topic is available via this link.
 
During the 2018 - 2019 school year, the district has taken a proactive and systematic approach to expand preventative testing that exceeds regulatory requirements (i.e., lead in water, lead in paint, indoor air quality, and radon). Through the course of this testing program, the district has sent communications to the entire PRSD community. Results from this preventative testing process have now been posted publicly through the board agenda and district website. Appropriate action has been taken and/or is in progress based on findings. In addition, the district will implement a planned cycle of preventative testing in the future. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) sample tests will be conducted at multiple times each year in the summer and early winter. Similar to current practice, individual IAQ tests will be conducted as requested. Lead in water preventative tests will be conducted again in the summer of 2021 after appropriate flushing that aligns with EPA guidelines. Radon testing will be conducted in December of 2020. Winter is the preferred time for this specific test.
New Strategic Planning Bookcases
Thank you to the 400+ individuals who participated in the PRSD Strategic Planning Process! We are now finalizing the long-term goals and short-term actions that will drive continuous improvement from 2019 – 2023. The categories of the strategic plan are noted by the titles on the spine of these books. The existing 2015 – 2019 plan serves as the foundation for our future work. It is exciting to see the changes to our educational programs, courses, departments, resources and other support services. The in-depth program review process has played a vital role in our efforts to ensure that we are continuing to evaluate our programs to determine strengths and opportunities for improvement. Similar to the strategic planning process, in-depth program review also allows us to gather input from students, staff, parents, the community, businesses, colleges, and universities. The pursuit of excellence – notice the green book – reinforces the systematic approach to continuous improvement. The final draft of the Strategic Plan will be available for public review by mid-April.
 
One concept that also emerged from the strategic plan process relates to a PR Graduate Portrait. Through our regular discussions with students, staff and parents, we know that there are many desired elements for a PR Graduate that go well beyond knowledge in academic content areas. What are these elements? How can we define them? A long-term goal was established for the purpose of clarifying these characteristics and considering how they fit within the educational programs. The four categories that emerged to describe this portrait include: Knowledge; Skills; Health & Wellness; and Personal Qualities & Characteristics. It was outstanding to listen to the input of our representative students in third, sixth, eighth and twelfth grades. As one example, our sixth-grade students identified the importance of managing money that includes understanding credit and debt. Another example that emerged from our seniors is the importance of being open-minded and valuing other cultures. Time management was identified as a critical skill by three of the grade level groups. By gaining clarity around these other elements, we can continue to ensure that our PR graduates are ready to make their mark on the world.
 
Thank you again for your support and commitment to the Pine-Richland School District.
 
Respectfully,
Brian Miller