Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By William L. Peel
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

New year, exciting plans

Superintendent's Corner


January 10, 2019

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it is already January and the year is 2019. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and had time to re-energize to get through the next few months of winter.

Willow River Area School was busy over the holiday break working on several projects to make our school even better. The custodial staff and local businesses have worked hard to build a wall to separate the elementary gym from the stage. The added space on the stage will now house our weight room. The basement will be converted for Takedown Wrestling Club use. Our crew also installed some sound absorption panels in our high school gym, replacing the old ones that were removed from the ceiling for our new fire-suppression system. The staff and students can already hear the difference. This past fall, the district purchased a machine called the Clorox 360. This innovative electrostatic sprayer uses electrostatic technology to deliver disinfectants and sanitizers onto hard-to-reach surfaces. We use this machine weekly to help remove those germs that cause illnesses. The technology is so advanced, we can spray an entire classroom when the students are at recess and by the time they return, the sanitizer is already dry and has killed 99.9 percent of bacteria on and under surfaces. We all know the importance of school attendance, so this machine will help reduce the number of sickness absences.

January is filled with student testing and some staff professional development. Our students will complete their Winter Benchmark testing using FastBridge Learning. Fast (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) is a tool our teachers use to measure and monitor student progress in reading and math. The assessments do not take a long time to administer, but the results are very effective. We use the results to improve instructional practices with the overall goal of increasing student achievement. We administer the assessment three times a year to allow staff to monitor individual and group performance and growth. Our staff will also have the opportunity to participate in the Gathering of Great Minds 2019 hosted by Moose Lake School District. The professional development event is part of the Northeast Area School Consortium, which is a partnership of several school districts designed to collaborate best educational practices.

In the next few months, we will be asking our local business and community members for some assistance in raising some funds to help build a better, safer playground for our students and community. We received a matching grant to help fund the cost, but we still need additional help completing this next summer’s project: monetary donations, volunteers to help assemble and install the new playground equipment when the project begins, etc. Watch for more information on ways you can help in the next Willow Star.

Willow River Area School remains committed to providing the best educational support to our current and future students. We all want to thank our community for their continued support as we begin the new year. Thank you. Go Rebels!


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