A look back as we start 2017-18

Like Princeton superintendent Julia Espe said in a recent column, let’s open the 2017-18 school year with a look back at 2016-17 accomplishments.
Last year was a great year at North Branch Area Public Schools. With the addition of Project Lead the Way’s “capstone” course at the high school, NBAPS realized full implementation of this innovative curriculum from kindergarten through high school. Our community partners on the PLTW advisory board; WCS Industries (formerly Custom Headed Products), Wyoming Machine, Rosenbauer America, and the Andersen Corporation provided $4,500 in scholarships for three graduating seniors to pursue post-secondary education in engineering and manufacturing.
The math pilot at Sunrise River Elementary saw strong results last year. Math proficiency at Sunrise was over 70 percent, roughly 12 percent higher than the state average. As a result, it will realize full implementation in 2017-18. Sunrise also introduced its PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) Superhero program, which was well liked by students and provided focused practice and conversation around specific themes.
The middle school also had a strong year with its PBIS efforts, and was honored to receive recognition from organizations. The Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals selected the middle school for a Gold Level Star of Innovation Award for its efforts to create a positive environment for staff and students. The middle school Student Council received a Faces of Change Award from the PACER Center for its Unity Day Celebration in October, designed to send a clear anti-bullying message to all students.
Also last year, for the first time anyone can recall, students from our Life Work Center program presented their program and achievements to the school board at a public meeting. The LWC provides employment and independent living skills to students ages 18-21 with transitional needs. The student presentations were eloquent and informative and set a high bar for future presentations!
NBAPS also realized full implementation of its 1:1 device initiative. With the addition of fifth grade in 2016-17, NBAPS is proud to provide Chromebooks to all students grades 5-12.
Of course, NBAPS also passed a three-question, $70 million referendum package that will maintain and improve our current facilities as well as invest dedicated funding toward technology for the next decade. All of us at NBAPS remain so grateful for the support of the community!
These are just a few of many items worth highlighting. Last year’s achievements become this year’s starting point and I look forward to reporting many new accomplishments as the year progresses.

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