Peter  A Grant
            Superintendent of Schools
 

I would like to welcome our students, parents and staff to the 2016-17 school year.   The first day of school is Tuesday, September 6, 2016.  Each school year brings the anticipation of new opportunities for our students and teachers.  A great deal of time and effort has been spent throughout the summer months with teachers working on curriculum and establishing common assessments for grade levels or subject content areas.  These efforts will provide better instructional practices for our teachers and better ways to measure our students’ performances in the classroom.

This coming school year starts the beginning stages of improving our schools following last November’s community support of a $78 million bond referendum.  The summer construction projects at McKinley, Wilson and Roosevelt parking lots have begun.  Wilson’s office has been remodeled to allow for better reception of parents and visitors and to improve security at its entrance.  The entrance to OJHS has been remodeled to improve its reception of students and visitors, and for better security.  

In early September, the School Board will approve bids for the additions at Lincoln, McKinley, OJHS and Willow Creek.  Lincoln and McKinley will have gymnasiums added along with classrooms.  OJHS will have a significant addition to accommodate the addition of grade six for the 2017-18 school year.  OJHS will then become Owatonna Middle School.  Willow Creek will have a large addition to convert it to a K-5 grade school.  All of these additions should be completed for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Near the completion of these new additions, deferred maintenance will begin in our buildings.  This will consist of upgrading our heating and ventilating, plumbing, and electrical infrastructure.  We anticipate that all building improvements will be completed in the spring of 2018.  The District is extremely grateful for the support from our community to allow these improvements to occur. 

This new school year brings about many new faces to our classrooms and buildings.  We are expecting approximately forty new teachers along with several new educational assistants and para professionals and support staff.  Each year it is difficult to have people retire or move on and then replace them.  We feel very fortunate to have hired some great new talent for our classrooms or to provide support for our teachers.  We look forward to having these new employees bring their experiences to our schools and to help us improve.

This coming school year, we anticipate an enrollment of over 4,900 students entering our schools.  Parents, as you start to prepare your school-aged children for another school year, remember that the first week can be quite hectic.  You will be getting your family schedules re-aligned and we will be doing everything we can to help make that first week successful.   Look for bus schedules coming to your home if your child will be riding a school bus.  Be sure your child knows the safest walkway to their school.  Being safe at crosswalks to and from school is critical.

Please work with us to help provide the best education we can for your children.  We cannot do it alone as we need your help for this to be a successful year.