By Deb Henton, Ed.D.
North Branch Area High School (NBAHS) made national news last week by earning the honor of a “bronze medal” for its performance against other Minnesota high schools. U.S. News and World Report published the report, which can be found at:http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools.
Many have expressed surprise at our receiving this honor, an understandable reaction considering the challenges our district has faced over the years. We have been cutting staff and programs since 2003-04, and have taken serious steps to get more from the dollars provided us by the taxpayers, such as the move to a four-day week.
In fact, NBAHS had the highest teacher to student ratio (24:1) of all the bronze medal schools.
The award is a clear indication we have not let our circumstances dictate our performance. “Do more with less” is not just four words at North Branch Area Public Schools (NBAPS).
We pride ourselves on proving that a school district can function at a high level regardless of budget woes or failed levies. We know that you take great pride in our ability to overcome challenges as well, since it was from you, the taxpayers, that we received that mission.
Though the award is given to the high school, it is pride that should be shared by all staff, from Early Childhood through elementary and middle school. Credit should also go to students and their families. Our students excel in high school because they have great teachers at all levels of the education provided here at NBAPS, and great support at home. I hope every staff member and family member feels some pride today.
It can be difficult to remember, in the midst of the many political debates about public schools and NBAPS in particular, that we have a mission to educate the children of this community to the very best of our ability. The honor earned from U.S. News proves yet again our dedication to that mission.