Dear Wildcats -
As I sit writing this, I look outside and see that some of the trees are still holding onto their fall colors, while most have lost them completely. Temperatures are beginning to fall and soon we will be looking at the snow-covered ground. By the time you read this, we will be almost halfway through our school year. It's going by very quickly.
As our school year rapidly passes by, we continue to focus on four goals: Culture, Safety and Security, Technology and being a "Model District."
Our focus on culture centers on the belief that every decision we make begins with the premise that we do what's in the best interest of our students. We believe a strong positive culture and focusing on our students will keep us centered and allow us to make decisions for the right reasons.
We strongly believe that educating our students and keeping each of them safe are our primary responsibilities as educators. We take keeping our students safe seriously. This is exemplified by our ongoing efforts to evaluate and provide measures that will ensure this safe environment. Over the summer, our district installed devices in each classroom that, in the event of an intruder or active shooter, will increase their chances of being safely secured in an area away from the active threat. We are ongoing in our efforts to identify other potential opportunities to keep our students safe and secure while at school.
Twenty-first century students are exposed to very different ways of obtaining information than we ever dreamed possible. We thought that a "video phone" and flat screen TV were just ideas we saw on "The Jetsons,” never realizing that one day we would be using our 60" TV to talk to someone on the other side of the world using our iPhone and Apple TV. The fact is, these are realities. These devices and many others have a tremendous impact on how our children and grandchildren learn. We are committed to continuing to update our curriculum to include technology that best enhances and assists our students to the realities of 21st century learning.
Finally, I have challenged our district faculty to become a "Model District." We want to be a district that other districts aspire to emulate. This concept can take on many shapes, i.e., innovative ways in which we educate our students to finding ways to interact with and develop ways to partner with our community. Two examples of this are our new garden bars which allow our students healthy, desirable food choices for lunches and our middl school students who have taken on service learning projects where our students develop innovative ways to meet needs within our community.
At the beginning of the school year, we as a district adopted the motto: Accept the Challenges and Embrace the Opportunities. The Harrisonville School District is committed to face any challenges that may come our way and embrace them in an ongoing effort to create a positive environment that puts the educational interests of the children of our district and making educating all our students our top priority.
Dear Wildcats -
It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by as Superintendent and a great year it has been. I have enjoyed being a Wildcat once again. I know I say this a lot, but it’s true - we have an amazing community, dedicated staff, and outstanding students.
Over the past year, the new administrators have been working hard, not only get to know the district, but to move forward with plans to ensure our district is the best it can be and provide our students with what they need to succeed.
This year will be full steam ahead as we accept challenges that lie in our path and embrace those challenges as opportunities.
This perspective became part of my life because of two special teachers. They helped me look at challenges in a positive way, not as something that stands in your way, but as opportunities that can help us grow.
Mr. A (Adkins) taught Industrial Arts and he showed me that learning can be fun. Mr. A met every student with a smile on his face and was a constant source of positive energy. Mr. A always challenged us to put our best effort forward, many times saying “go back and do just a little more.”
Coach Ramos was my high school wrestling coach. He taught me that you can achieve anything if you’re willing to work hard and keep your priorities in the right place. Coach Ramos didn’t let us get away with mediocrity. He constantly challenged us, pushing us and never letting any of us settle for anything less than our best. He also didn’t accept excuses. Excuses were self-made obstacles that just stood in the way of our successes.
Both of these teachers impacted my life tremendously. They shaped me to be the person I am. I am truly who I am and where I am in a very large part because of these two men. I know that our teachers are doing the same with the children in their classrooms and I truly appreciate the work they do.
As I close, I would like to challenge you to take an opportunity to reach out to someone who has had an impact in your life, whether it be a teacher, a faith-based leader, or a neighbor. Let them know that they made a difference. It can be a fulfilling experience for both of you.
Being superintendent means that I’m faced with challenges every day, some big and some small. However because of Mr. A and Coach Ramos, I work hard to see the opportunities within those challenges and know that every day is “a great day to be a Wildcat.”
If you have any questions or concerns (challenges) for me, please don’t hesitate to call or email - 380-2727, ext. 1222 or email@example.com.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Dear Wildcats -
It’s hard to believe that we’re in the final quarter of the school year. We’ve had a great year full of success. Let me share just a few...
The HHS Music Makers qualified for finals and finished in the top four in all competitions this year. DECA, FBLA, and SkillsUSA have multiple state qualifiers. Our high school students mounted a social media campaign to help a little girl fighting cancer meet her idol, Taylor Swift. The Wizard of Oz was performed to full houses. Two students were named to All-State Choir and All-State Band. HES students developed leaderships skills though the Wildcat Leaders program. The FFA Ag Mechanics team earned fourth in the nation. District students and staff collected more than 7,000 pounds of food for the local pantry. The Wildcat softball team won the district championship and had a GPA of 3.60 earning a gold medal standing and the highest ranked school in the MRVC West. An HHS senior presided over the 2015 Missouri Youth in Government Convention as Governor. Staff members participated in the first-ever Day of Service. HMS hosted yet another moving tribute to veterans at their annual Veteran’s Day assembly. Two wrestlers qualified for State. An HHS senior has been named to the Missouri Scholars 100. McEowen Elementary School students pledged to stand up to bullying through their Paws for a Cause program. The football team made it to the State Quarterfinal game.
This is just a sampling of the many Wildcat successes this year. I am very proud of everything our students and staff have accomplished this year. However, it’s not over.
The fourth quarter might just be the busiest and most academically challenging of the year. State assessments will take center stage in April with 3rd-8th graders taking MAP tests and high school students taking end-of-course exams. Beyond testing, it’s the end of a year of teaching and learning and time to ensure students have all the tools and knowledge they need to move on to the next grade.
The fourth quarter is also a time of celebration. We’ll celebrate student accomplishments at assemblies, concerts, and awards ceremonies. We’ll celebrate the end of the year with field days, field trips, and the biggest of all - graduation. Celebrations are an important part of the education process and I’m looking forward to all of them.
As the year comes to a close, I want to thank our students and staff for their hard work throughout the year. I truly appreciate the long hours, dedication, and effort that it takes to achieve success. I would encourage everyone to take a moment to thank our students and teachers. Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6...the perfect time to show appreciation to our staff. We’re also encouraging community members to write notes of appreciation and inspiration for our students as they begin testing in April. Notes can be turned in at the Administrative Office and we’ll distribute to our schools.
It’s definitely been a “Great Year to be a Wildcat” and I look forward to finishing out the year as it’s gone thus far...full of effort, success, and celebration.
Dear Wildcats -
One of the best parts about being superintendent of Harrisonville Schools is being a part of the community of Harrisonville. This community supports our schools and students whether it be donating to ensure a safe post-graduation celebration; attending sport events, concerts, and student recognition ceremonies; or meeting student needs through Bright Futures.
So, I want to start by saying “thank you.” Thank you to everyone who gives of their time, talent, or treasure so that our students have every opportunity for success.
In addition to saying “thank you,” one of the things I feel very strongly about is giving back to the community that supports us. On page 3, you can read about many of the activities our students and staff have already done this year to share their time and talents.
The Senior Citizens’ Thanksgiving Banquet featured on page one is probably the longest running service project in our schools. For over 30 years, the high school Student Council has served a traditional Thanksgiving meal to senior citizens in the area. This event is truly a group effort as the Student Council seeks business and individual donations to help pay for the food, elementary school students make placemats, Student Council members cook and serve the food, and high school musicians share their talents to entertain the guests.
From the longest running service effort to something new - staff in the district will be participating in a Day of Service in February. On February 12, 2016, staff members will take part in Professional Development activities during the morning and then from 1-4 p.m., they will go out into the community to give back.
The district is currently looking for service projects - painting, filing/organizing, cleaning, etc. Those with community service jobs are encourage to complete the online job form on our district website - www.harrisonvilleschools.org
If you have questions or would like to submit your job over the phone, please call our Director of Communications Jill Filer at 380-2727, ext. 1224.
I hope that this Staff Day of Service becomes an annual event and is long-lasting just like the Senior Citizens’ Thanksgiving Banquet.
Giving back and saying thank you to our community are just a couple of ways we can express our appreciation for your ongoing and solid support. With a partnership like we have, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish for our students.