It’s back to school for District 25

By Mary Vagner

We are very excited for a new school year to get under way. We have highly qualified professional teachers and staff ready to welcome your children back to school next Tuesday.
Our preparations for every new school year begin before the previous school year ends. By the time the school year ends, in May, we have already planned and scheduled summer professional development, curriculum development work, prepared for the summer maintenance and construction projects of school buildings, purchased and scheduled the installation of technology and initiated the purchasing process to be ready for the children of our community to return in the fall.
The ultimate goal of our organization is for all students to graduate from high school, ready for a career or college, without remediation. With that goal in mind the implementation of a new and more rigorous curriculum began last year. This year we will stay the course with our curriculum work preparing our children for their futures. Our District is process oriented rather than program oriented. We are into process for the long haul rather than a program for the short haul. This year we will continue to work our plan. We have a well-developed short and long term Strategic Plan that supports the instructional program for students. Our plan provides a coordinated and sustained approach and culture for increasing student success.
Over the summer, teachers refined the units which were implemented last year to improve instruction and promote enhanced learning for all children. Teachers of K-12 English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science engaged in Professional Development Training on unit orientation, collaboration and lesson planning.
All elective teachers received training on how to embed the reading of a variety of informational texts and writing into existing curriculum. This summer, to improve instruction and enhance the learning opportunities of students, our technology department installed 1,100 computers and more than 50 interactive whiteboards in District classroom. They also installed 208 new wireless access points and replaced core switches and routers at middle and elementary schools, installed 160 classroom audio systems and performed services or upgrades to several communication servers.
To improve safety for children, parents, visitors and staff, the District improved the parking lot and added a new bus loading area at Tyhee Elementary School. In addition the roof on the old gym at Pocatello High School was replaced and Highland High School’s Phase 1 renovation of C wing was completed. The entrance to Hawthorne Middle School was renovated to improve safety and the passage of students and visitors, and the tennis courts at Highland and Century High Schools were resurfaced.
Last week we welcomed our faculty and staff back. It was good to see the familiar faces of those who returned after summer break and to meet our newly hired faculty and staff. This year, we welcomed 90 new certificated staff and 88 classified staff. Resignations and retirements of administrators, teachers and other certificated staff resulted in a record number of new hires for our district.
We hope our students and their families have enjoyed extra time together this summer and are ready and excited for school to start. Recently, a mother of four school-age children told us that she and her children are ready for the structure and focus that occurs when they are in school. We are certainly ready to welcome students back and look forward to a great year with them.
School in the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District starts next Tuesday, August 26th. Our District welcomes all children and provides them a safe, supportive, caring and respectful learning environment. We ask our community to join us in keeping children safe! Please be extra careful around our schools as children walk, bike or are bused to and from school.

Mary M. Vagner is superintendent of Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25.