October 24, 2014
Dear Seward Families:
I have good news! First, the Minnesota Department of Education has approved our building addition and renovation plan. The district is currently seeking contractors and once they are hired, it looks like our project will begin in December. I will get the details to you once the contractors and their supplies are in place. At the board meeting last Tuesday, October 14th, our Site Council along with Dr. Johnson put forth a recommendation that part of the addition be named in honor of Hussein Samatar. Mr. Samatar was a Seward parent and school board member who died last August due to complications from cancer.
The second piece of good news is, per the Minnesota Department of Education, Seward is no longer a Focus designated school. We were on the Focus list because, as a Title One school, we were not doing enough to eliminate the achievement gap between students of color and white students. Meaning, on the MCA math and reading tests, our white students were consistently out-performing all other groups of students at Seward. Based on MDE calculations and our most recent test scores, our students of color made more gains and thus, we are no longer on the Focus list. We know we have more work to do to eliminate the achievement gap, we are willing to do it and we are counting on you to help us.
One way we know that students make gains is by getting to school on time every day. Please make every effort to get your child(ren) here on time. Also, every Seward student should be reading or being read to at home every night. Another way is by being a partner in your child’s education. This includes checking homework and planners and communicating with teachers. If fall conferences are any indication, we are off to an all-time great start. Our middle school teachers report having up to 86 conferences—that is amazing! Our elementary teachers are reporting a high 90% attendance rate. I am grateful to all of you who attended fall conferences. If you weren’t able to attend, it’s not too late. Contact your child’s teacher or advisor and arrange a time to meet.
Our school is moving forward in many positive ways. I am truly thankful for your support.