As the first day of school quickly approaches, I find myself getting excited and ready to welcome back our teachers, parents and most importantly our students.
I hope you have all had a relaxing and enjoyable summer. We have been busy over the summer working on a variety of improvements across our schools and districts to further our goal of providing an excellent education to every student every day.
I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the exciting improvements that are coming for the 2019-20 school year that will enhance our school safety, our Panther stadium, our support of teachers and our communications with families and the community.
Safety improvementsThe district has received several grants to continue to enhance our safety at each of our campuses. These grants have supported the purchase of new radios that will sync more effectively with the police department to promote valuable communication in drills and emergencies. We have also purchased an enhanced visitor sign-in system that is being used by schools across the country to sign-in visitors and verify who is in the building in the event of an emergency. Finally, the grant supported our maintenance crews in upgrading the physical security of each of our campuses through installing new doors or entrances that allow for better visitor screening and access.
Panther Field upgradesThe district worked diligently over the summer on installing many exciting upgrades to Panther Field. These upgrades included: new lights for Panther field; a new track to prevent safety hazards such as tripping and shin splints; new visitors bleachers and dugout; and new bleachers for the girls softball field. I am grateful to Bobby Archibeque and Jeremy Yarborough, who helped lead the design of many of these upgrades, and to voters for the bond funds which made these upgrades possible. I am so excited to cheer on our Panthers this year!
Improvements in new teacher supportsThe district continues to seek ways to improve supports for all our teachers, especially our new teachers. We were pleased to receive a grant focused on new teacher support and have hired a new teacher success coach who will be working with all our new teachers in providing enhanced support and coaching to help them be successful in our district.
Improvements in communications and parent engagementAs Superintendent, I am always asking for feedback from our parents and community on how we could do better and one thing I consistently hear from people is that we can continue to improve our communication. I have taken this feedback to heart and we have worked over the summer on several initiatives that I hope will improve our communications with families and community and provide multiple opportunities for feedback as we continue to improve.
First, we have redesigned the district and school websites to provide families with quick links to the most frequently used resources, a calendar of events, news and newsletters, and a variety of parent resources. We will also be launching a monthly parent email newsletter that will provide updates on district news and accomplishments. Parents and community members can sign up for the newsletter on our website.
Second, we are offering an online student registration option this year through our district and school websites. We hope this will streamline the process for parents and schools and reduce the amount of time and paperwork that is involved in registration. Families are still encouraged to come to their child’s school for back-to-school night to meet their teachers and to attend school-based registration events to receive help with the online registration if they have questions.
Finally, we have made copies of our district strategic plan and Citizen’s Guide to the Budget available on our website for families and community members who are interested in learning more about the district goals and strategies or the district budget.
I am excited to welcome our students and teachers back to school. We are going to have a great year together. As always, I welcome your feedback, questions, and ideas.
Lori Haukeness is superintendent of Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.