November 22, 2016
We have so much to be thankful for in Moorhead Area Public Schools.
As I write this column, it is important that we thank our community for its support of our schools. We have strong, growing schools, which creates a strong community. We have school buildings where students are supported and taught about reading and writing, mathematics, social studies, science, arts, world language, physical education and wellness, and more. We are thankful we are able to provide these opportunities for all our students.
Our schools are taking shape and will open the fall of 2017. We will be able to welcome students to safe and secure schools. We will have enough room for all students and places where they can eat, play, learn and be active. We are so thankful for our community support. Through the hard work of all our teachers, administrators and staff, we have worked together to make our schools the best places for our students. We are thankful for the creativity, innovation and critical thinking of our staff as we designed new and remodeled learning spaces for all learners.
We are thankful for all our staff members who work hard every day to make sure our students have their needs met. We have staff members who go beyond their work time to support students. We are thankful for staff who continually work to improve their teaching to reach every students.
We are thankful for the staff who work hard every day to make sure our students get to school and are fed. We are thankful for staff who makes sure our students have their health needs met and clean and supportive environments in which to learn.
We are thankful for parents and community members who volunteer their time to serve on task forces and other committees to help provide direction and input into our school district. We are thankful we have community members and families who volunteer to read with students and help our teachers. We are thankful for our PTAC members who work hard to support our students and staff.
We are thankful for our community. We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with our higher education institutions, our community leaders and our business leaders. They also help guide our work to develop the maximum potential of every learner to thrive in a changing world.
It does take our community together to educate our students.
We have so much to be thankful for in this district.
Dr. Lynne Kovash, Superintendent
Moorhead Area Public Schools
September 1, 2016
This is an exciting time for Moorhead Area Public Schools. It’s time to welcome our students back to school, and I hope you are as excited for this year as I am. Last year, we worked together with our community to provide new facilities and learning spaces for our growing school population. We had planning and design discussions with parents, staff and students. Our goal is to have all our buildings ready for our future students and their learning. We’re ready as teachers, administrators and support staff to build on this success in the 2016-17 school year.
Our district is in a good period of growth. Our estimates show about a 1.5% to 2% growth in student population. Our staff members are working hard to make sure all students have the best learning environments and prepare for the transition to new and remodeled buildings. We are dedicated to making sure all students have their best year and are prepared for the next step in their educational program.
Next year we will open two new buildings. Dorothy Dodds Elementary School will be home to kindergarten through grade 4 students. Horizon Middle School West will be a wonderful place for students in grades 5-6 to learn and thrive. I know we have a lot of work to do. Our work will take patience, creativity, discussions and thoughtfulness, but together we will be ready to open the schools for all our students next fall.
We have developed community partnerships to provide mental health support services for students. These partnerships are vital for our students and our school community. All of our elementary schools and Horizon Middle School are part of a framework for responsible school citizenship called Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports or PBIS. This framework provides instruction for responsible behavior in our school environments and celebrates the positive behaviors in school. We are committed to providing safe and caring environments for all students. We also want to model the kind of caring and respectful society we want for all our students.
We have worked this summer to update the offices in the three elementary schools to provide a secure entrance with a new visitor management system for visitors to check in and out of the school. We will have more information in the next few weeks regarding these updates and new system. We are fortunate to have dedicated and hardworking individuals who provide the guidance and grit to get these projects completed for our students.
We all have to work together, but we truly believe the mission of Moorhead Area Public Schools is to develop the maximum potential of every student to thrive in a changing world. I hope families have an opportunity to visit our schools and see the great work our teachers and staff members have done to prepare for the 2016-17 school year. We are ready to have a great year as we are constructing dreams.
Dr. Lynne A. Kovash
Moorhead Area Public Schools
June 1, 2016
The 2015-16 school year is coming to a close. This week we are celebrating the end of the school year with our graduates and staff members who are retiring or moving on to a new place in their lives. There is a feeling of sadness, yet an acknowledgement and celebration of all the accomplishments.
What a year this has been. We began our year with listening, planning and discussing the need for more space for the ever-increasing enrollment in the school year. We looked to the past for planning from community groups and from our rich school district history. With elementary classes in the 500-student range and the kindergarten class with 575 students, we knew we had to plan for the future. That future dream was realized on November 3, with the successful passage of the referendum. We spent the rest of the year planning and discussing our future schools, breaking ground on April 18 for the new grades 5-6 building and May 4 for the new K-4 school.
In the business of education, summer is a time of reflection on achievements during the past year and planning for the future with an eye on continuous improvement. We have many achievements to celebrate from a record 19 students qualifying for the national speech tournament to academic and athletic achievement honors. We celebrate with and for our staff and students. We continue to reflect on the systems that are needed for all students to achieve.
As we begin the summer break we are often asked, “I suppose you are looking forward to your summer break?” People are often surprised to learn administrators work over the summer. Summer work is different, as administrative teams work diligently to prepare for the next year, always mindful of how the coming year fits into the long-range plan for the district. This year we will not only be involved with the plans for learning and for our programming, but we also will be involved in the construction oversight of the new schools and remodeled entries to our schools. We are looking forward to this fall and to the fall of 2017.
Our planning includes addressing and being accountable for our strategic priorities. This includes high academic achievement for all students, a safe and healthy environment, a system of professional supervision for employees, and organizational and fiscal effectiveness. Our school board and administrators will wrestle with the many issues over the next few weeks and plan to continuously improve and maintain our system. While it’s a great time for Moorhead Schools, funding for the operation of our school district will be critical as we open new schools and plan for additional students.
Summer learning loss is also a challenge for our students. I would like to challenge all students to take part in the summer opportunities offered throughout our community and on the Minnesota Department of Education website at
. Please fill out the summer reading pledge. I also would like to recognize every student who meets the reading challenge. We will have you submit the information to your school office in the fall. I encourage parents to set aside at least 20 minutes per day for reading. I remember the wonderful days of summer when I would sit in the shade on a blanket and read books. I hope all students will find that love of reading.
I hope you have a wonderful summer, and I can’t wait to see you all in the fall.
Dr. Lynne A. Kovash, Superintendent
Moorhead Area Public Schools
September 3, 2015
This is an exciting time in the history of Moorhead Area Public Schools. Our theme this year, “Honoring the Past and Shaping the Future,” depicts the excitement in our district.
Our enrollment reached a high of 7,000 students in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and we are on track to reach that target again soon. The future is bright for our community and schools. The last time the district saw a student enrollment of more than 6,000 students was in the mid 1990s. As with all school districts, our district has periods of growth and periods of decline. The late 1990s to the 2000s was a period of decline. At that time we experienced 11 years of enrollment decline before enrollment stabilized and began to grow. The growth in the schools began after closing smaller elementary schools and reorganizing to three elementary schools and one middle school to be more efficient. Closing small, inefficient schools saved the district money in operations, maintenance and utilities. The current schools opened 11 years ago in 2004. In the past 10 years the district has seen enrollment grow by more than 638 students, with more growth in the elementary grades.
As I write this, our elementary schools are all over capacity, and our middle school is at capacity. We are enrolling new students daily. We have not seen this type of enrollment growth in more than 20 years. We are excited to share our great schools and community with our new residents as well as those who have been with us for some time.
We have a strong tradition of excellence in our district. The stories of our student success are evident in our community, our region, our state, our nation and our world. Our graduates would not be successful if it were not for the support of the staff and teachers in our schools, our parents and our community.
It’s time to welcome our students back to school, and I hope you are as excited for this year as I am. As a district, we made great strides last year in preparing our students with 21st century skills. Our students are continuing to be challenged to meet their learning needs through the skills of collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity. We have hired a strong group of 67 new teachers and have continued to look for ways to support and celebrate the accomplishments of our students and staff.
While we honor many of our past traditions, we are looking to enhance our present traditions. Concerts, theater productions, athletic events, and many other activities in our school are exciting, and we invite community members to attend and see the excellence in our young people. We want you to be a part of our school community.
This year as a way of celebrating our schools, we are asking families to use social media on Tuesday, September 8 to spread the word about being proud members of the Moorhead Area Public Schools community. As part of this effort, take a picture of your student or students or groups of students returning to school. Tag #firstdaymoorheadschools or post to our school district Twitter (@MoorheadSchools) or Facebook site (/moorheadschools).
We must continue to work together to fulfill the mission of Moorhead Area Public Schools to develop the maximum potential of every student to thrive in a changing world. I hope you will visit our schools or find us online and see the great work our teachers and staff members have done to prepare for the 2015-16 school year. We are ready to honor the past and shape the future!
Dr. Lynne A. Kovash
Moorhead Area Public Schools
May 28, 2015
The school year has flown by. Just a short time ago, it seemed we were beginning to think about spring and spring activities. I know at times during this spring we all wondered whether the sun would shine.
As we reach the end of the school year, we find the school district faced with great opportunities for the future. Our elementary schools are over capacity, but at all schools our staff has worked hard to make sure our schools are safe and secure and students feel a part of the school community. As parents we welcome your involvement and ways that we can work together to assure your students have every opportunity possible.
As students leave for the summer, staff will be working together to plan for the future. Teachers spend time in training and exploring ways to reach more students and to engage them in their school work. Administrators will be in training, learning about more ways to focus on safe and respectful schools as well as standards for behavior and academics. Administrators also will be refining skills in the area of evaluation and observations in the classroom to support staff as they continue to learn and grow.
Administrators and teachers will be working together to look at information about academics, including test data and other indications of academic achievement, and to discover new ways to reach each student. We are going to explore the opportunity gap that our students may encounter as they progress through school. Our priority has been for all students to be prepared to be able to be successful in any of the opportunities they may find as they leave our schools. Many of our students have been successful as they leave our schools and go on to the next level, however, we know the world is changing, and we are changing to make sure our students are successful in the future.
As we look back and honor our past, we remember the hard work of people before us who answered the need for more schools and strong educational programs for all students. We need to make sure we are ready to respond to the needs of our students today. We will ask for your support as we respond to our increased student enrollment with plans of building schools so every student has an adequate space to learn.
We hope you will learn more about the needs of our district this summer and fall as we provide information about the facility needs. The growth in our school district is expected to continue over the next 10 years, and we need to be ready to provide good facilities for elementary and middle school students.
We honor the work that has been done in the past, and we look forward to shaping the future of our district together. We look forward to the opportunity to work together with our community to make Moorhead Area Public Schools the best!
Dr. Lynne A. Kovash
Moorhead Area Public Schools