By Dr. Brian Maher, Superintendent
August 2019

Pencils are sharpened and floors are shined! Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! The start of another academic calendar brings so much anticipation; not only for students, teachers, and staff, but also for parents who are excited to see their student flourish. A new year never gets old!

This new school year brings with it plenty of excitement as your Superintendent, as well. Now entering my fifth year as Superintendent of the Sioux Falls School District, I can’t help but look back with pride on all we have accomplished together. Four years ago, we mapped out a plan to improve student learning, support our staff, make our schools safer and more welcoming, and to engage the community in all facets of the educational journey. This work is recorded in the District’s Strategic Plan, which monitors progress, allows us to design initiatives to improve goals, and holds us accountable for that work. The Strategic Plan guides us in every decision we make with the sole purpose of providing the highest quality education possible.

Last fall at this time, our community overwhelmingly supported a $190 Million bond to pay for three new schools (two of which are currently under construction) and upgrades to 14 existing buildings to account for growth and safety. In June, we broke ground on Thomas Jefferson High School in northwest Sioux Falls. In July, we broke ground on Ben Reifel Middle School in southeast Sioux Falls. These two new schools really serve as “book ends” to the thriving business community and strong schools we already enjoy.

While increasing enrollment in our schools is exciting to see, our number one priority has been and will continue to be the safety of our students and staff. The Strategic Plan addresses this. Construction projects address this. Staff routinely train. School Resource Officers paid for by the City of Sioux Falls work shoulder to shoulder with us to build relationships with students and to address concerns when they arise.

As we begin this new school year, I invite you to be an active participant in your child’s education. Volunteer. Attend parent-teacher conferences. Ask your student about their classmates and what they are learning. Before we know it, we will be wrapping up another school year and setting our sights on the next one again. Time is a gift we cannot waste. Have a great year!

 

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