Haukeness: Schools, students planning to have a great year

Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 12:43 PM
Lori Haukeness

The beginning of the school year is always the most exciting time for me as an educator. Students are the heartbeat of our district, and it makes me so happy to visit our students and see them returning with their fresh school supplies, new outfits and hopes for a great year.

Our teachers are the key to our students’ success and to helping them grow, achieve and reach their potential. I am grateful for our returning teachers and their dedication to our students and community, and I am excited to welcome 33 new teachers to our district this year.

Here are some of the exciting things going on this year in our schools and our district:

Kemper Elementary: The team at Kemper will be exploring ways to use hands-on science, technology and math activities to draw students even deeper into their learning. Kemper continues to be the elementary school that demonstrates the highest growth for students in our district. Manaugh Elementary: Our teachers and students at Manaugh are starting early this year. We know that students need more learning time to help them improve their achievement, and the Manaugh team is adding time to their school year and implementing a new plan to increase achievement and ensure that every minute of learning counts.Mesa Elementary: The students at Mesa improved their reading achievement by 8 percent overall and outperformed their peers across the state in fifth-grade reading last year. The Mesa team will continue to engage students in “flooding,” which provides small-group support and fun reading activities to help students quickly advance in their reading. Lewis and Pleasant View Elementary Schools: The students at Lewis improved their reading achievement by 7 percent. Both Lewis and Pleasant View will continue to focus on improving math and reading by focusing on individual student achievement data. The schools are implementing character education, highlighting a character word of the month. Cortez Middle School is welcoming a new principal, Kate Ott. Ms. Ott brings 20 years of experience as an educator, including six years as a teacher and leader at CMS. The middle school will also be partnering with the high school on AVID, a new program to help students build their skills in writing, organization, note-taking and creative problem-solving, to be more successful in high school and beyond. Montezuma-Cortez High School: The high school is expanding opportunities for students to build their skills through AVID and is expanding opportunities for students to explore their interests and build the skills they will need for college and career through our new Pathways to Graduation programs. Parent and community engagement: I have heard feedback from more than 100 people at our community meetings and through our online Facebook survey. Some recurring themes include the district working closely with the community, strategizing ways the district can let the community know how to help the schools and students, and providing more opportunities for our students with community mentorship programs. Parent and community input and ideas are critical to our work and I am sharing it with our board and teachers. I will also be holding meetings in each school throughout this year to meet with parents and teachers and hear more of your ideas on how we can continue to improve.

We are committed to ensuring that we support all students in growing, achieving and reaching their potential. I am asking for your help and support of our students as parents and community members.

Please consider volunteering in your school, reading to a child, supporting our students to be in school on time every day, or participating in my superintendent’s town hall meetings to share your ideas.

Let’s have a great year together!

Lori Haukeness is superintendent of Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1. Reach her at