2017 in review

We are now officially over one-half of the way through the 2017-2018 school year. As I look back on the first half of the year, there are several celebrations and opportunities for good news. Here are four of the (many) positive happenings that took place in 2017 in our district and in Minnesota.

1. Strategic Plan: We started the process and took several steps to successfully implement a new strategic plan. With input from a committee comprised of parents, business owners, parents, community members, and staff, a new strategic plan for 2017-2022 was developed and implemented this year. The plan — which includes a new mission, vision, belief statements, goals and focus areas — will be an important part of our planning as we move forward to better meet the needs of all our students.

2. Student assessments: Results from last year’s state assessments (such as the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) were very good, if not exceptional. With one exception, every cohort of students (or graduating class, if you will) improved from the previous year in both reading and math. Some cohorts grew as much as 20 percent from the previous year. Nearly two-thirds of our grade levels were at/above the state average in reading, math and science, which is a significant improvement from the previous year.

3. Expanded Early Childhood: Young students in Marshall began attending free early learning/early childhood classes because of additional funding provided by the governor and state’s Legislature. These free classes are not only saving our families money but are also providing additional opportunities for our youngest learners to continue to improve on their academic, social and emotional skills. These skills will help them (even more) successfully transition into kindergarten.

4. Student enrollment: This year marks the eighth consecutive year that the Marshall Public School District’s enrollment increased. During this time period, there has been nearly a 17 percent growth in the number of students enrolled in our district. While the trend in rural Minnesota is for decreasing enrollment, our community and school district have been able to not only maintain, but significantly increase, our enrollment. Increased enrollment provides revenue that allows additional programming, opportunities and staff, all of which are beneficial for students.

Any measure of success for our school district is a reflection of a caring and committed staff, engaged and compassionate parents, talented and respectful students, and a supportive community. Our focus will remain on continuous improvement, yet we certainly had much to celebrate in the first half of the school year.

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