Summer is behind us and school is in full swing.    There is always great anticipation and excitement with the start of the school year.   As I reflect on the first couple of weeks of this school year,  I think back to the annual back to school breakfast for teachers, administration and other key staff.   It is quite amazing to sit in Mustang Hall and see it filled with all the people that make this district run and provide an excellent educational experience for our children.   There is quite a buzz among the teachers about the new school year and many have remarked about how good the professional development was this Summer.   This is critical as we embark on the first phases of our strategic plan to have the enthusiasm and support of teachers and parents to create a 21st century educational experience for our students.  

You may also have noticed a few changes with the beginning of the school year.   The District was notified late last school year that Kid Chow would no longer be participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP),  meaning that we would need to change providers.   After a shortened but extensive process the Board approved Lunchmaster as the new provider for a one year contract.   There have certainly been some kinks in the first couple of weeks, but Mindy Hill our Wellness Coordinator has been working closely with the schools and Lunchmaster to address the initial challenges.   Significant progress is being made to improve efficiencies with the operation of the lunch program at school and with the online ordering system.   The Board will continue to monitor the progress bring made to determine if additional changes should be made.  

The second thing you may have noticed is the change in start and ending times at some of the schools.   Last year the Board discussed the issue of instructional minutes in our schools.   While every school is well over the state minimum, the overall number of instructional minutes at the elementary and middle schools were not consistent.  I am pleased to report that with the start of this school year that is no longer the case and the middle schools are now aligned as are all the elementary schools.    For example, now every third grader will receive 310 minutes of instruction a week regardless of what elementary school they attend.