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VIEWPOINT: Great work is taking place behind scenes at new school

It’s been so much fun to see the latest drawings cross my desk as architects work with teams to design a new elementary school, additions and renovations at the high school, and other building updates across the district. When we break ground on these projects in the spring we’ll be well on our way to providing beautiful new spaces that will open up many opportunities to our students.

What isn’t so obvious is all of the great work going on behind the scenes to plan for the learning that will take place in these new spaces. Changing grade configurations will result in benefits to our current students and all those yet to come. Preschool students will be able to get a head-start in our elementary schools, sixth graders will find new opportunities in a middle school environment, and a whole new world of learning will open up for ninth-grade students at the high school.

Just like you’d do if building a new home, we’re getting our existing house in order. We’re digging out the clutter from the closet, getting rid of what isn’t working, keeping what works, fixing what is broken, and reorganizing into something that functions better for the future.

There are a lot of discussions going on as our staff begins the work of “cleaning house.” It’s messy work, but it’s what most of us got into education to do. We’ve invited staff members to think about the things that have held them back in the past, and dared them to imagine solutions that would make this an even better place for kids to learn. We’ve talked about things like how many teachers are in our buildings and what our school calendars look like. We’ve considered the curriculum we teach and the programs we offer. We’ve even talked about enrollment trends and our ongoing challenge of filling schools in the north while we continue to grow in the south.

Now we’re taking these same discussions to you. We invite you to attend a Community Conversation at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16 in the media center at Stillwater Junior High. We want to hear your thoughts as we consider the best ways to build this new school district. Can’t make the meeting? You can also participate online by sharing your feedback at stillwaterschools.org/Conversation.

Change isn’t coming just to the students who will attend classes in our brand new or renovated spaces. Change is coming for every student in the Stillwater Area Public School District. Join us as become B.O.L.D. – as we Build Opportunities to Learn and Discover.

Stay connected!

Contact Superintendent Denise Pontrelli at pontrellid@stillwaterschools.org or follow her on Twitter @drpontrelli.

Subscribe to our Pony E-News at stillwaterschools.org/subscribe.

Search for Stillwater834 on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Denise Pontrelli is superintendent of Stillwater Area Schools.

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