Talk of the District

with Denise Pontrelli, Superintendent
Denise Pontrelli

Talk of the District is where you will find monthly updates from our superintendent Denise Pontrelli.  If you have comments, concerns, or questions, Ms. Pontrelli can be reached via email at pontrellid@stillwaterschools.org.

It is difficult to believe that another school year is ending, and with it we’ll be saying good bye and good luck to more than 660 graduates of Stillwater Area Public Schools. In the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to celebrate with these graduates as they’ve received thousands of dollars in community scholarships and accepted numerous awards and honors for their outstanding accomplishments. I’m looking forward to watching them walk across the stage on June 4 to receive their diplomas from Stillwater Area High School. They have bright futures, and they’ve given us all so many reasons to be proud.

This is an exciting time of the year for students and staff alike as they wrap up one year and begin to look forward to what’s ahead.

Yet for all the amazing things that have happened this year, it is likely the 2015-2016 school year will be remembered as a year of discourse within our school district. This has been the year in which our school board made an incredibly difficult and unpopular decision to close three schools in order to free up resources to better meet the needs of students across the district. It’s been a challenging year for families, community members, staff and district leaders alike. We all have our children’s best interest at heart, but we have disagreed on the best way to meet their complex and diverse needs.

It is my hope, however, that the controversy of the past year does not overshadow the incredible accomplishments and the remarkable success stories of 2015-2016. As challenging as this year has been outside of our classrooms, inside of them our staff has made sure that incredible things continue to happen every day. I am so proud of them, and I don’t believe there is a more dedicated, professional, knowledgeable, or caring staff anywhere.

Our cooks don’t just serve meals. Our teachers don’t just lecture their classes. Our support staff doesn’t just fill out paperwork, nor do our custodians just clean buildings. Everyday these amazing people provide a smile at just the right moment. They make students feel valued. They inspire them to achieve things they never thought possible. They work incredibly hard to make a difference in the lives of the students they interact with each day.

While this year has not gone as I originally planned, I am no less proud of all that has been accomplished. We’re putting structures in place, we’re providing better support to our staff and students, and we’re becoming a stronger district.

We end this year knowing there are disagreements left unresolved and challenges we’ll continue to face. We know the road ahead is full of bumps, twists and turns. We may not always agree on the route, but we do agree on the destination. We have a solid vision for our schools that has not wavered in the past three years, and continues to guide us into the future. And more than that, we have incredible students, supportive and caring staff, and passionate and engaged communities.

We have much to be proud of and many reasons to celebrate the 2015-2016 school year. I strongly believe even better things are in store for us in the years ahead as we work together on behalf of our students. I look forward with great anticipation to the 2016-2017 school year and another great year of learning.

Enjoy the summer break.

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