By Dr. Brian Maher, Superintendent
February 2019

It is easy to lose sight of progress in the gloomy and sometimes bone-chilling days of winter, but if anything can put a little pep in the step, it’s the fact that we are already more than half-way through the 2018-19 school year! Students completed semester tests last month and parents are learning more about their academic progress through report cards and soon parent-teacher conferences.

In much the same way that students are graded on what they know, the Sioux Falls School District also imposes a grading scale on the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan. In 2015, the District spent considerable time hearing from parents, students and community members about what should be measured. By early 2017, we settled on four priority areas: Student Outcomes, School Climate & Culture, District Staff, and Community Engagement. Within those priority areas, we crafted smart goals to hold all staff and administrators accountable to growth.

Two years into the plan, we are proud of the progress, but we are still working hard to improve in some areas of the scorecard. In short, high school graduation rates are improving, more students are challenging themselves by taking rigorous courses, our workforce is becoming more diverse, and more parents are feeling connected to their child’s education. We continue to work on improving student attendance, reducing behavior incidents, and giving voice to all employees in the areas of professional growth and safety.

While no one likes to see average or below average scores on their report card, the wonderful thing about education is there is always a higher goal to which we can aspire. The staff at your child’s school are always seeking to improve the strategies they use to teach your students so that they, too, can grasp the concepts being taught.

In education, we never “arrive.” We always strive to do better. Measurements like the District’s Strategic Plan hold school leaders accountable. So, as we venture deeper into the second semester of this school year, we invite parents and students to join us in this quest for improvement. Choose a goal – whether it be to improve a specific grade, read more, or reduce the days your child is absent – and stick with it. If we are all working toward the same goals, success cannot escape us!