Superintendent’s column: ‘What do I stand for?’
July 6, 2017
The district's mission statement: Moffat County School District will educate and inspire students to thrive in an environment of change.
First, I want to thank the Craig Daily Press for the space to provide a monthly superintendent's message to the community. It has been a goal of mine throughout the year to improve communication to parents and stakeholders of the district. This forum will allow for the district's initiatives to be highlighted, challenges to be described, and good news to be shared. On the first Friday of each month, I will seek to ensure the community is up to date and informed on items of relevance.
2016-17 was a great year for MCSD. At all grade levels, in the classroom, on the field, on the mat, on the court, and through activities, our students and staff represented our school and community in exemplary fashion.
I cannot believe how fast the year went by. As I began my service to Moffat County School District students a year ago, I used four questions to help the staff, administration, community, and the MCSD Board of Education get to know me and understand my philosophy. Chief among those questions was "What do I stand for?" My answer will always be to maximize EVERY opportunity to make a positive impact on students. Throughout my first year, I have tried to demonstrate my commitment to this statement.
The first example of this is the successful completion of the new Strategic Plan. The development of the plan was truly a community effort. Students, parents, community members, and district employees engaged in a rigorous process to identify the district's mission statement, belief statements, and focus areas. The plan will provide the blueprint for our efforts over the next five years. The Board of Education will use the new document and accompanying belief statements to draft an annual action plan. The plan can be found at moffatsd.org.
A second example of this philosophy is our progress on reading at the elementary level. Throughout the year, elementary teachers, instructional coaches, and literacy coordinators participated in training on effective reading practices. Their work culminated in the adoption of a new evidence based reading resource. Even more exciting, in May, we learned that MCSD was awarded an Early Literacy Grant from the Colorado Department of Education. The grant will cover the cost of the reading resource for grades K-3, provide consistent, job embedded professional development, and provide two full-time Literacy Coaches.
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District funds will be used to purchase the 4th- and 5th-grade resources. Successful implementation of this new reading program will lay the foundation for improved student achievement throughout the elementary years and beyond. The new materials will regularly provide all students with extensive opportunities to work with and meet grade level standards. Resources include extensions and more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Time will be built in to allow teachers to guide all students to meet grade-level standards.
As a reminder, the 2017-18 Academic Calendar contains some changes. Here are some highlights:
• There will no longer be Friday afternoon early release days. This time has been recaptured in the form of full-day professional development as well as teacher work time at the elementary level.
Secondary Schools will have 4 days throughout the year for professional development.
Elementary Schools will have 6 days throughout the year for professional development and teacher work time.
• Students' first day will be Monday, Aug. 28.
• Students will continue to have a full week for the Thanksgiving holiday (November 20th through 24th.) Parents and staff overwhelmingly indicated support for this to remain in the calendar.
• The Christmas holiday break is Dec. 25 through Jan. 8.
• Spring Break is March 19-23
• The academic calendar ends on Thursday, May 24.
I encourage parents to visit the district's website at moffatsd.org for a printable version of the calendar.
Thanks again to the Craig Daily Press. I hope everyone has a wonderful summer filled with family and friends.
David Ulrich is the superintendent at Moffat County RE-1 School District.