Wow, I cannot believe we are at the end of the first 9-week grading period. Time flies when you are having fun. The students and staff have really been working hard to get the year off on the right track.
One area of focus we have had at Scranton Public School is the desire to put into place a sound, strategic plan for growth and improvement over the next five years. Over the past year, we have made the following areas priorities in our quest for continuous improvement: technology, social emotional learning, and student engagement. We have put together a committee under each priority area and are currently putting together an annual goal for this year and a plan of action to make those goals a reality.
For technology, we are extremely fortunate to have invested heavily in our students and their technological needs. We are a one-to-one school with all our students having a device whether it be a laptop or an iPad. We are focused on scaffolding our curriculum PK-12 in technology and will try to make sure all our students are introduced to and comfortable with the latest technology. Our long-term goal is to add a technology specialist who can concentrate on providing the instruction with this curriculum and provide the in-depth training our students need. In the future, Scranton Public School would like to add a separate classroom that could be a focal point for our technology learning. The committee will strive to make this a reality down the road.
Social emotional learning is a trend in education that is long overdue. One of the strengths we have as a school is our staff’s ability to build relationships with our students. We have student check-ins daily and our teachers really work hard to make the classroom a safe place for all our students. One in four children have been exposed to a traumatic event that may have a lasting impact on the well-being and functioning of the student and his/her family. By understanding how trauma impacts students and adopting a trauma-informed approach, our staff can play a crucial role in mitigating both the short- and long-term effects of trauma. Our goal for this year is to provide the training for our staff so that we can meet the important needs of all our students, not just academically but emotionally as well.
North Dakota has what is called Choice Ready and this is a component in the North Dakota Accountability system and is used to measure whether the high schools are producing students who are ready for success upon graduation. Our student engagement committee is really focused on meeting the needs of all our students and providing each of them with a pathway to success. At Scranton School, we are focused on providing the skills needed to be successful in the following four pathways: Post-Secondary Ready, Trade Ready, Workforce Ready, and Military Ready. These pathways have requirements that we must meet according to the ND Accountability system, and our committee is making sure we are providing those requirements. We are also looking at finding ways that we could work with other schools and businesses in our area to provide learning opportunities for our students. In addition to the Choice Ready initiative, our committee is also looking into a protocol that can assist with measuring the student engagement in our classroom lesson design. We are looking at implementing more personalized learning for our students so that they can find that pathway that will lead them to future success.
At Scranton Public School we place a high priority on academic results. We like to analyze our ND State Assessment results for how our students are doing according to our high expectations and where they compare to other students in K-12 schools. In order to do these comparisons, we are using the ND Insights website (https://insights.nd.gov). This is the states official source for information about public education across North Dakota. It exists to inform policy makers, agencies, researchers, and communities on ND public Schools and workforce development.
As always, our extra-curricular activities are busy with some sports seasons winding down, some just getting started, and others just around the corner. Our music department has had a busy month with a high school and junior high concert. On top of that Scranton School hosted Choirfest, a concert that included choir students from Bowman County, Hettinger, South Heart, Belfield, and Scranton. It was a well-attended concert and Mrs. Conlon did a wonderful job organizing this event. Our FFA organization is currently in Indianapolis, Indiana where they are participating in the National FFA Convention. All our other organizations have also been extremely busy, and we will celebrate their accomplishments as we move forward in the coming months.
We also have some exciting news and would like to thank a couple local organizations that have provided funding opportunities that we are excited about. The West River Health Services Foundation had a grant opportunity available to local non-profits for any projects concerning health and wellness. Scranton Public School was awarded $1,000 towards weight room upgrades. Thank you, West River, for your support for the health and wellness of students at Scranton Public School. Also, the Bowman-Slope Community Foundation, a component of the North Dakota Community Foundation, had a funding opportunity for local nonprofits that would improve facilities for students and the community. We are extremely excited that Scranton Public School was awarded $12,000, which will be used to upgrade our outdoor basketball and tennis courts. We are in the initial stages of this project but are excited to see this become a reality soon. As the plans are finalized, we will share more information. Thank you so much to the Bowman-Slope Community Foundation for your support for the residents in our counties.
As always, I want to thank our community for your support as we strive for continuous growth and improvement as a learning center in our community!