Students, Staff, Parents, and Community Members,
We are in our fourth week of school and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. The students have transitioned back into their school routines pretty quickly. Staff members have been working diligently to get everything ready for the students and make their transition back to school as smooth as possible.
Along with the new school year starting, our district has welcomed new staff members as well. Mrs. Knight is teaching the 2nd grade and comes to us from Pawnee School District. Mrs. Kramer is teaching 5th grade and comes to us from the Fort Morgan School District. Mrs. Mari is teaching 6th grade and comes to us from Sterling. Mrs. Meadows is teaching Art and she is a first year teacher. Mrs. Higgins is teaching Music part time and is coming back to education after taking time off to raise her triplets. Mr. Baker is teaching secondary Social Studies and comes to us from Akron. Mrs. Funk is our part time librarian and part time Pre-K Aide. She is coming back into education full time after taking time off after working in Caliche. Mrs. Holzworth is our new Transportation Director. She isn’t new to the district but is in this position. Mr. Holloway is our new Principal and is coming to us from Sterling. I am the new Superintendent and I am coming from the Plainview School District. Lastly but certainly not least, I want to send out a huge thank you to the returning staff. Their dedication to both our students and the district during this transition has been unparalleled!
We are working on NWEA Maps testing this week. I have asked for this test to be administered up to the eleventh grade starting this year. While I know that this hasn’t been given to the upper grades in the past, we use this data to help our students grow more effectively. I truly appreciate the stance that there is too much testing. However, this test is very usable and has instant data for our teachers to be able to see gaps in learning or advanced learning and get started on next steps. This shortens the time that we are working to diagnose possible learning loss issues or accelerated learning and allows us to meet our students at their point of need much faster.
One of the things that the staff expressed with me before school began was that they want to ensure fairness across the board for all students. So we spent a couple days going in depth through the student handbook as a staff. We are all on the same page on homework, late work, dress code, cell phone usage, tardies, etc… Please understand that with a new administration comes some new expectations for the staff as well. I am holding them accountable for what they have requested. While I appreciate some exceptions need to be made for extreme circumstances, our policies and handbook will be followed.
Our students are such a joy. I have been impressed with these kids over and over since I have started. I have witnessed High School students meeting Elementary students at the doors to welcome them, eat breakfast with them, and even walking them to class. Elementary students offer to help their teachers before and after school. Junior High students volunteering to stay after school to help with little girl volleyball and with High School practices. Students volunteering to lead crowd cheers for our teams in sports. The football and volleyball teams cheering on each other with such passion. The football boys staying after games to help the volleyball girls take down the gym for PE classes the next day and countless other acts of kindness I haven’t listed. These students get no recognition or any reward for their hard work and kindness. These are the children you are raising. This is truly something to be proud of!
I am honored to be part of this community. I am honored to be part of this district. I am honored to be given the opportunity to work with these kids.
As always please know that our doors are always open. Come in and talk with Mr. Holloway or myself anytime about your concerns or just come in to spend some time with these amazing kids.
We Are Mustangs!
We are Prairie!
Yours in Education,
Ms. Dana Jo Unruh