National Principal’s Month

Each year, the month of October is designated as National Principal’s Month, and I would like to take a moment to recognize our principals and assistant principals. They include Darci Love and Jim Gagner (Park Side), Jeremy Williams (West Side), Mary Kay Thomas and Jeff Hansen (Middle School), Michelle Noriega (Marshall Area Technical Education Center), Brian Jones and Travis Frazee (High School), and Amanda Grinager (director of teaching and learning).

Although they likely would not want me to focus on them, our principals and assistant principals do much important work in their buildings and in our district. Principals and assistant principals have several roles and deal with situations so students, families, and staff know that their voice was heard.

They are often the first to school and one of the last to leave school and frequently work at night and on weekends. Their efforts — in conjunction with students, families, and our community — have a positive impact on student achievement and on individual student’s progress. From my experiences in our district, I know that each of our principals and assistant principals cares deeply about the safety and education of their students, and I greatly appreciate this. If you have a moment, please extend a “thank you” to our principals and assistant principals in recognition of the important work that they do and for National Principal’s Month.

Here is a fact that many people may not know. Our district is one of approximately 105 school districts and 77 charter schools in Minnesota who are “alternative teacher professional pay systems” (ATPPS) or “Quality Compensation” (Q Comp) districts. According to the Minnesota Department of Education, Q Comp is “a voluntary program that allows local districts and exclusive representatives of the teachers to design and collectively bargain a plan that meets the four components of the law. The four components under Q Comp include Career Ladder/Advancement Options, Job-embedded Professional Development, Teacher Evaluation, and Performance Pay and Alternative Salary Schedule.” The Q Comp districts and charter schools serve approximately half of Minnesota’s public school students.

As a portion of our district’s Q Comp Plan, each learning level (or grade level sites) creates a yearly Site Continuous Improvement Plan, or SCIP, that is created by Site Leadership Teams and submitted to the School Board. A SCIP includes goals focusing on student achievement in reading and math and reducing or eliminating achievement gaps. In addition, each SCIP contains specific activities and actions to accomplish each goal. As you may imagine, much work goes into identifying what’s going well and what opportunities for improvement exist in each building and then creating goals and plans to meet the specifics of the goals that are included. These SCIPs are part of our district’s accountability to families, district residents, and the state (as results from the goals included in the SCIPs are submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education as part of our requirements for being a Q Comp district).

Thank you for taking time to read this and for your support of the Marshall Public School District.