As we turn the page on another calendar year it is a great time for the Fort Dodge Community School District to reflect on the past year and look forward to what lies ahead for us. At the beginning of this school year I spoke about the need to unlock success in our schools. We talked about how this is done by choosing to overcome obstacles and unlock the potential and possibilities.
Since that time we have had many positive things happen. For the third year in a row we have had some student enrollment growth in our district. This helps us as a district look ahead without the pressures of major budget reductions staring us in the face. We have used the voter passed PPEL to increase and update the number of technology devices that our staff and students use to enhance learning. The district hired two technology integrationists to help our staff and students use these devices efficiently and effectively.
The district has actively sought out and received several grants that will help reshape and support positive climate and culture settings at our schools. We received the “Gear Up” grant that will help us gather data to so we can better guide and support students and families to realize that college is an option for them. This grant will also give each current 7th grade student, when they graduate, money to help achieve a college education. We are utilizing grant dollars to help restructure our elementary reading program, with “Just Right Reading”. Staff members are being trained and supported as they make this transition and we are seeing very positive results.
Several items that we started over the last several years are continuing to build momentum and are making a positive impact. The ABC and ALC programs at the elementary and middle schools are helping support many of our students who are at-risk and need some extra support. We are seeing some very positive gains academically and behaviorally with numerous students who are receiving this support. Rachel’s Challenge is also making a positive impact through our FOR (Friends of Rachel) groups at the middle and high schools. These students and staff members are looking for ways to keep Rachel’s message in front of our staff and students so that we make kindness count in our schools. These are just a few of the things that have and are unlocking success in our schools.
As we look to 2015, we see additional positive possibilities awaiting us. We already know that we will have Dr. Anthony Muhammad coming to speak to our staff on January 16th. He is a nationally recognized and sought after speaker, who works with schools and staff members to transform school culture. He will help us as we continue to strive to create that school culture that helps ensure student and adult learning through practical and proven instructional strategies. This will directly support our district as we move to begin our implementation of the TLC grant that we were just notified by the state that we will be receiving. This grant is not a silver bullet, but it is can be a huge step toward helping us carry out our daily mission and achieving our vision of becoming an innovative school community that exceeds expectations, builds meaningful relationships and creates the foundation for all learners to excel.
As you can tell, 2014 was a big year and 2015 is shaping up to be an even bigger year in the Fort Dodge Community School District. We look forward to what lies ahead and we invite you to come and see for yourself, whether through conferences, coffee conversations or one of our many activities and events to see how we are doing. Thank you for your help and support and may you have a blessed 2015.