One of the things I love about being in education is the fresh start marked by the beginning of every school. It’s filled with much energy and excitement. This school year begins with good news that our first-day enrollment, with a little more than 8,580 students, was higher than projected. We are seeing new families move to the area, an increase of students coming to Stillwater schools from other districts as well as many the return of students who previously left our schools. This trend is especially evident at the junior high level, where our commitment to meeting the individual needs and abilities of students becomes so important.
There are many efforts behind the scenes helping ensure a successful start to the school year. This involves planning bus routes, setting bus stops and safely transporting 7,600 students to all schools within our district — public, private and parochial. More than 4,700 lunches and 350 breakfasts are served daily, and 862 students are enrolled in before- and after-school care. Although our main focus is always about meeting students’ academic needs, it is clear our staff works equally hard to meet their physical and emotional needs. We’re excited to have 90 new staff members this year, including four new principals. These new staff members have brought with them many new ideas and a high level of energy that are essential for our school district to move forward.
The start of the new school year is also a time when many of the changes we’ve been planning last year and over the summer became a reality. This includes new initiatives outlined in year one of our community-driven Bridge to Excellence Plan. This plan is providing our focus as we bridge our strong traditions with the changing needs of our students to create the new “Stillwater school experience.”
As a parent with students in our schools, and the school superintendent, I am energized by the changes underway this year. We’re building a strong foundation to enhance the way our teachers teach and our students learn for years to come. Our four areas of focus this year include: community connections; growing and developing staff; systems supporting learning, and future learning. Work in these areas includes piloting a new teacher evaluation system, providing instructional coaches to support and mentor classroom teachers and redesigning the curriculum model to be more up-to-date and relevant. We’re also creating an innovation center within our district focused on developing and sharing new ideas to improve learning and organizational efficiencies.
Just like the beginning of the school year, we are a district with tremendous promise and potential. We’re concentrating on meeting the needs of our students by doing things differently, reinventing how we teach and preparing our staff to operate within this new paradigm. We are committed to this new vision. With your continued support I am confident that Stillwater Area Public Schools will not only continue its tradition of excellence, but will take yet another step forward to become a truly exceptional school district.
Superintendent Corey Lunn can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by phone at 651-351-8301. Questions can also be sent by mail to Superintendent, Stillwater Area Public Schools, 1875 South Greeley Street, Stillwater, MN 55082. Register for Stillwater Area Public Schools E-News at www.stillwater.k12.mn.us/subscribe.