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ISD 181 Viewpoint: Back to life, back to reality

While nearly 7,000 Brainerd Public Schools students enjoy the last weeks of summer, staff and faculty spend August putting the finishing touches on preparations for the new school year. All 12 school buildings smell of new paint and fresh floor wax. There is furniture in the hallways as classrooms and offices are scrubbed clean.

Our Buildings & Grounds staff are not the only busy ones in the district. Conference rooms, computer labs, and training spaces are buzzing with the activity of teachers and administrators as they make plans to, as our mission statement says, "ensure all student achieve their individual potential."

Earlier this month, the Minnesota Department of Education released the 2017 test scores of students who participated in the required statewide achievement tests. Teachers and principals from each our schools spent two days last week digging into those results to learn what they can about which students are growing and reaching proficiency and where more work needs to be done. They are setting goals and making plans for how they will systematically and systemically teach every student entrusted to Brainerd Public Schools.

Our kindergarten teachers are preparing to meet and assess every incoming kindergartener so they can be matched with the perfect teacher who will give them a great first year in elementary school. At the same time, our new special education teachers are being trained in how we as a district respond to students who need extra support. Others are learning the Junior Great Books program that challenges our top elementary school readers to go further and deeper with the highest-quality literature. The principals are beginning a two-year journey through the Principals' Academy, a program of robust education leadership development being offered in partnership with the National Joint Power Alliance. As August comes to a close, our secretaries will spend time getting updated on the processes that keep our district running smoothly and new staff will get an introduction to Brainerd's true blue Warrior ways.

We hope families savor every remaining moment of this summer at the park and beach, on the bike trail and golf course, visiting relatives and friends. Meanwhile, we will be hard at work preparing for another great school year. See you on Sept. 5!