Dickinson schools reflect on 2012The Dickinson Public School District is thankful for another year of positive implementations and an opportunity to serve the students’ educational needs with very highly qualified teachers, administrators and staff.
By: Doug Sullivan, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson Public School District is thankful for another year of positive implementations and an opportunity to serve the students’ educational needs with very highly qualified teachers, administrators and staff.
Prior to this school year, the district interviewed and successfully filled the positions for 35 certified vacancies. This included three new teaching positions. Additionally, the district added a resident teacher for students with disabilities, another kindergarten teacher, and to assist our diverse student population, two English Language learner instructors.
To help ease classroom sizes for the increased student enrollment, in April, the school board approved the construction of Prairie Rose Elementary. There will be three sections of classrooms for grades kindergarten through fifth.
Pictures of the construction site are available on a website link at http://www.dickinson.k12.nd.us/prairierose/index.html.
The school will be fully operational for the start of school in fall 2013. Faculty, staff and student placement at the school is in a process and will be concluded in the next few months. There should be notifications sent to parents in early 2013 to help prepare their children for a possible school transfer.
Curriculum is a continuous discussion in the district. Many teachers and administrators have worked on these improvements throughout this year. Their dedication and commitment keeps the district’s curriculum advancing to meet the needs of the never-ending changes. The language arts faculty has and continues to review the curriculum over the past three to four years and, based on the discussions, implemented several changes to help improve the student’s reading and writing skills.
The Professional Learning Communities process has been a focus of the district for several years. Part of this incorporates teacher collaboration time within the school day. High levels of learning require teacher collaboration time to assess the learning targets and procedures necessary if the targets are not met. To accommodate time within the day for teacher collaboration the starting time and ending time at a couple of the schools was adjusted this school year. Most of the parent and community’s reaction to the staggered starting time has been positive.
The future of the community reflects the enrollment trend for the school district. There is endless data speculating about the population and growth for Dickinson. The school board members and administrators continuously attend meetings to collect as much information as possible to prepare for an influx of students. Enrollment trends in grades kindergarten through sixth have gone from 1,207 students in 2008 to the current enrollment of 1,664. As expected, the additions at Lincoln Elementary and Jefferson Elementary are being utilized 100 percent and classrooms are at full capacity.
Prairie Rose Elementary will serve about 250 students during its first year of operation and will be expanded as the need arises.
An influx of students will require additional conversations regarding school facilities. When we initiate these discussions, I encourage the community to be engaged and contribute to the dialogue and ultimate solution.
In 2013, the North Dakota legislative members will meet to discuss many proposed bills and discuss the state budget. Many proposals will be related to public education. It is important for the community to be actively engaged and encourage the Legislature to invest in the needs of the Dickinson Public School District.
I wish to thank the Dickinson community for its continuous support. We are proud of our school district and feel Dickinson is a great community to raise our children.
If you have any questions about this or any other issue in the Dickinson School District, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Best wishes for a prosperous year filled with joy and happiness.
Sullivan is Dickinson Public Schools superintendent. Contact him at 701-456-0002 or email Douglas.Sullivan@dickinson.k12.nd.us.