Welcome to the 2019-20 school year.

This past year has provided the Montrose County School District with incredible opportunities for your children and community. Now we will take those opportunities and make them a reality for all to see.

All day, every day, kindergarten is here for the third year. The school board and the principals believe it is imperative that your children receive this educational opportunity because they know how important it is to develop a robust early childhood education program. Your children deserve every opportunity to be successful in school.

STEM

Montrose County School District is Colorado’s first STEM School District. Northside Elementary School is the first STEM certified elementary school in the state of Colorado. Every school and every student will be immersed into STEM curriculum. STEM isn’t new to many school districts in Colorado; being the first STEM school district is new. STEM is more than Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; STEM will be the model of how we teach your children, and this is the key. Problem Based Learning (PBL) is the instructional model that will make a difference for your students. PBL is for all students of all ability levels and turns learning into real life problem solving. This is exactly what your children will do after high school. STEM will not replace the need to teach literacy, numeracy or the arts; STEM will help shape our schools and our community and how we collaborate.

Opportunity

Your children deserve the same opportunities the children have on the Front Range of Colorado. Not collaborating as a community isn’t an option; your children will suffer the consequences of not working together in partnership. Together we can provide these opportunities.

Balanced budget

The school board has been able to do what the community has expected regarding finances. The 2018-19 budget is balanced, and plans are in place for the 2019-20 budget to be balanced as well.

At the same time, the school board has been able to give its teachers and staff a 3.5-percent base pay raise with a total package of 6.9 percent. Our students, your children, deserve quality teachers and staff. Improving salaries to help bring high-performing teachers and staff to our district is a priority for the board.

By reprioritizing the budget, the district now has the funds to fix and maintain existing facilities. Just like you and I do at home, it is more economical to maintain the building/home than to replace it due to neglect.

I want to wish you and your family a fantastic 2019-20 school year. I look forward to seeing your children achieve from all the programs and opportunities that the Montrose County School District will provide this year.

Stephen Schiell is the superintendent for Montrose County School District.

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