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Westonka Superintendent Welcomes Students, Updates Parents on State of District

Kevin Borg says school district will begin our new strategic planning process this fall.

Welcome back Westonka! We are excited to have your students back in school with us.

We are coming off a great year with many memorable highlights—
With the start of another new school year, the Westonka community has many reasons to be proud of our students.

This past year in November, our own town of Mound was voted the Best Place in Minnesota to Raise Your Kids by Business Week magazine.

In April, Hilltop Primary School was nominated for the prestigious NCLB Blue Ribbon award. (Shirley Hills Primary is a 2008 Blue Ribbon award-winning school.)

In May,  was recognized as one of the best high schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. In fact we ranked 17th out of 786 high schools in the state and 668th out of 22,000 schools nationally!

The 2012 state MCA test scores were released in August.

Westonka students in grades 3, 4, 6, 10, and 11 scored in the top 10 districts in the state on MCA tests.  

This month we learned that Westonka’s ACT scores went up .5 points to 24.3—compared to the state average of 22.8 (out of 36). Minnesota’s 2012 ACT scores are the highest in the nation for states testing 50 percent or more of their high school graduates. Minnesota’s scores are almost two points higher than the national average.

This year marks the beginning of our new strategic planning process
To set our direction for the next five years, we will begin our new strategic planning process this fall. In this process, we will look at where we are currently as a district, determine where we want to go and establish goals, strategies and measurements to help us get there. In this process, we will be meeting with many stakeholder groups. I look forward to connecting with you, our community, about what you would like to see in our public schools.

We are also reviewing the effectiveness of our technology infrastructure and creating a technology plan that will benefit our students’ learning. We are seeing evidence that technology can have a powerful impact on the personalization of instruction.  

Technology devices can be used as advanced instructional tools to help teachers adapt curriculum to the unique abilities and interests of our students. Technology also can play a critical role in education when used as a tool for embedding 21st Century skills such as problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Look for more information on the strategic plan and the technology plan in future district communications.

Facilities Update Planning Priorities
Westonka’s Facilities Update project is well underway with several projects completed this summer and the next two phases for summers 2013 and 2014 in the planning stages. The School Board Facilities Committee is committed to spending referendum dollars wisely in a way that provides lasting improvements to the educational environment. The committee is reviewing the challenges outlined in the referendum project list, while focusing on the best value for the district in each building.

Top priorities are improving student safety and addressing deferred maintenance issues like exteriors, roofs, and mechanical and electrical systems.

To prepare for the next two phases of construction the School Board Facility Committee, Wold Architects and Engineers, and Kraus-Anderson will detail and cost estimate the scope of work at each building. The goal is to have all the project designs on budget and the final scope defined by December 2012.

In January, the project team will prepare the projects for bidding. The summer of 2013 will see the start of major construction at Shirley Hills, Hilltop, and select projects at the Educational Service Center. Construction at the high school and Grandview will occur in the summer of 2014. All referendum work is projected to be completed by the fall of 2014.

The Westonka Edge: Our Commitment to you
Our commitment to our students and to you, our community, is to deliver to what we call “The Westonka Edge.” The Westonka Edge is about offering all our students small school advantages with big school opportunities for real-life success stories. We look forward to working with this year’s students so they can continue to produce great results and create their own real-life successes.

These results come from the support of caring teachers, dedicated administrators and support staff, and involved parents who all contribute to give Westonka students the edge they need to succeed. Vital support also comes from the state and from you—our local taxpayers, community and corporate foundations, and individual citizens—who generously give above and beyond of your time, talent, and finances. Thanks to all of you for your collective efforts in supporting our schools and our students.

Learn more, Stay informed, Get involved

Sign up for our district eNewsletter for student, staff, and school success stories and events throughout the school year. Visit our website and click on the eNews icon to sign up. Visit our classrooms, and you will see not only our passion for the academic excellence, but our big school opportunities for every child.

As always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Call (952.491.8001) or e-mail me (borgk@westonka.k12.mn.us) with your ideas for Westonka Public Schools.

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