We are a little over three weeks into the 2018-19 school year. Thanks to the efforts of each employee and our students and families we’ve enjoyed a smooth start to the school year. Routines are established and students are engaged in meaningful learning opportunities across the district.
Waukee Community School District is known for excellence in and out of the classroom. Our district is also known for significant enrollment increases each year for the past two decades. Despite the challenges we face as a growing school district, including the ever-increasing expectations of the public and the decreased funding support from the state, Waukee Community School District continues to thrive. Student achievement data across all grade levels is high and trending upward for several years in a row. Teachers continue to differentiate instruction to ensure students have a strong foundation and are provided opportunities to extend their learning. In addition, staff members work to provide opportunities for students to perform and compete outside of the classroom. These successes are, in part, due to the continued support from our parents and communities as well as a laser-like focus by our teachers on doing what is best for students.
As mentioned above, the district continues to grow! The district has experienced enrollment growth for the past 27 consecutive years. Last year we grew by 579 students and this year we estimate we will grow by nearly 600 students. The official number of students served will be available in October. Keep in mind that we don’t receive any state funding for those nearly 600 new students during the current school year. Funding for additional students always lags by one year for Iowa districts. That’s a challenge…we grew by more than the total PK-12 enrollment for 120+ school districts in the state of Iowa last year. So in essence, we’re educating the equivalent of the enrollment for some entire districts in Iowa with no funding.
We don’t dwell on the growth, but little things we do each day help us plan for it. It’s part of our culture, and we’ve taken great pride in knowing that despite the growth our student achievement data is high and has been on an upward trend. We’re also very proud of the fact that we have been able to handle the facility challenges that come with the growth.
Speaking of growth and facilities, Radiant Elementary will be open in time for the 2019-20 school year. Each time we open an elementary school attendance center boundaries change. The committee working on those boundary changes started meeting last January. They are scheduled to take a recommendation to the Board of Education Nov. 26, 2018. I would invite you to consider either attending those meetings as an observer and/or watching the website for updates.
The community forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. on October 9 at the WILC. I am hopeful you will consider attending. You will hear an update on the committee work so far and have an opportunity to share comments, ask questions and learn more about the process. Families impacted by the boundary changes will be notified early in 2019. This committee will also bring a recommendation to the board regarding attendance center boundaries for grades 6-12 effective the fall of 2021 when the second high school is scheduled to open. The bid opening for the second high school was completed Thursday this week and scheduled for Board approval currently on September 24.
Board of Education
The local Board of Education is a uniquely American institution that has made the public schools flexible and responsive to the needs of the local communities. The school board represents a continuing commitment to local citizen decision-making in education. These volunteer positions are critical to the continued success of the district. Current board members:
Susan Bunz, President
Wendy Liskey, Vice-President
Board members are locally elected, non-salaried, public officials. Honor, respect and satisfaction are the rewards for helping the school district meet the educational needs of students and our communities. Take time to thank them for the enormous amount of volunteer time and commitment they contribute to making Waukee Community School District the great place that it is.