Dear Parents/Guardians/Students and Patrons:

There are few things as exciting and joyful as having students return to school. As the first day of school rapidly approaches, many emotions exist for students, parents and school staff. There are so many important dates, deadlines, and tasks to achieve before the first day comes! Yet it is truly a magical day of excitement, anxiety, joy andGǪ some frustrations. I’ll always remember my wife being very upset, sharing a story with me of our oldest child, entering the first grade and sitting alone on the playground not interacting as other kids ran around himGǪthis lasted only a day or so and he was thriving! Leaving him there was very tough but we both knew the exceptional teacher that he was to learn from that whole year. Every year our children at all grade levels dive into a new school year with a new teacher, new classroom and quite likely many new friends and maybe even a new school altogether! We, the adults in charge of our educational communities, know that the many exciting things that take place on that first day have been preceded by a tremendous amount of work taking place behind the scenes so all is ready for our young charges that first day, to feel safe and nurtured.

This first day of success begins in the spring of the previous school year. It is truly a quality reflection of our district employees and the Teamwork required to see all the school buses ready to roll, the revision of curriculum, all the technology updates by our tech department, the significant time put into teacher planning for the first day and the year, to mention just a sample of tasks! A multitude of decisions on what is best for students is ongoing, from the work of the board of directors and top administration, to the principals, teachers, clerical and district office staff, the cooks, maintenance, and the custodial crews.

The bus drivers must learn all the routes, as these folks are the first and last people that students see. The kitchens and cafeterias must be clean and stocked with menus ready and in place. All the schools and facility must be safe and clean. The summer maintenance and custodial crews run a tight schedule to prepare buildings for the first day. Of course the clerical staff must be ready to literally run the central nervous system of the schools. They must be aware and proficient in just about everything you can think of and more, to efficiently help everyone that first day. This includes understanding schedules, new rules, how to operate a new phone system, multiple forms, process for physicals, teacher supplies, immunizations, etc! Principals and VP’s must also be ready to wear many, many hats and be experts in the duties they carry out. Like captains of a ship, they must be the on deck at all times, navigating anything and everything that comes up. Counselors provide and serve that special touch for the many things that come up for students, at all levels, that are quite often not noticed but very important to the child’s comfort on the first day and all the days of that first week. Finally the district office staff must support and coordinate all areas for a seamless start.

Of course there is no debate (as research proves) that the caring, well-prepared, knowledgeable, creative, and enthusiastic teacher is the critical key that first day. Teachers spend hours and hours preparing for the upcoming school year. They must generate and coordinate challenging curriculum, develop best practices to deliver that curriculum, and possess the strategies and tactics to assure that each child finds learning success. These efforts do not happen the night before school starts! It is imperative that students and their families feel welcome in our schools and that we work together with strong customer service to meet your needs as the first day hits. We, like you, want to help our young people find success this year and every year they are in the GSD. It doesn’t happen by magic but we are determined, with you the parents and guardians of our students, your children, to make it happen on this coming first day and all the days that follow in this new and exciting school year.

In summary I am excited to reiterate some coming program enhancements and additions, as I did in my June 25th communication: We will be offering a Pre-School option for our GSD families for the first time starting the first day back with language support in Spanish and Russian! We also have enhanced our Daycare Option (earlier start time) that started in the fall of 2014. We also hired an Art/Choral Music/Computers full-time elective instructor whom will provide these popular and important subjects to both our GMS students and GHS students! We also added a K-8 Counselor to serve GES and GMS. We will continue to aggressively seek to build capacity for our CTE strands at the HS level in coordination with CCC. With your participation, we are truly focused on carrying out our Strategic Plan (see website under district resources) by providing comprehensive and sound instructional opportunities for PreK-12. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or ideas to build further the best rural school district in the state! 🙂

Facilities Update – The Activities Building has finally been approved for occupancy. The new modular classrooms at GMS will be attached to their foundations next week, and with some minor interior work to follow will soon be full of desks and computers and students! We do appreciate your patience as we have been awaiting required inspections to be completed for quite some time.

Matt Henry, Superintendent