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.

The back-to-school hustle and bustle is in full swing. Parents are measuring their kids to see how many sizes they’ve grown, then heading off to the store to outfit them with new shoes and clothes. They’re filling shopping carts with pencils and notebooks, glue sticks and crayons – crossing each item off of the school supply list as they go. They are doing all of these things to ensure their children have the tools they need to be successful as they return to school in just a few short weeks.

We’re doing the same thing here in schools across the Stillwater Area Public School District. Our students are at the center of all we do, and our focus is on creating schools with support systems that provide them with everything they need to be successful. We’re ensuring our students have access to the very best teachers who can teach them all that they need to know in engaging and fun ways. We’re making sure we can provide all of our kids with the extra support they need, whether it comes from a counselor or student advocate, intervention teacher, gifted and talented educator, English Language teacher or other support staff. We’re considering the lessons we teach, the classrooms we teach in, and the methods we use – all to ensure we’re doing the very best we can for our kids.

As we measure ourselves at the start of this year, we can see all of the ways that we’ve grown as a district. Achievement results show us that we’ve done an incredible job of meeting the needs of many of our students. Stillwater students continue to perform well on state tests, graduate at high levels, and get accepted into top colleges and universities. Yet when we really look closely at those measures, we also see that there are kids who just don’t fit into the typical school mold. These are the kids who might get bored in school because they learn faster than others. Or those who struggle to keep up. Some of them have language barriers or mental health issues, while others are dealing with stress and anxiety because of things happening at home. Our traditional ways don’t always work for every kid. As wonderful as our schools are, our teachers and staff are working to make them even better. Every single one of our kids deserves the opportunity to succeed.

As a district we are working to expand learning for our kids and giving them more access to things like preschool and language immersion. We’re balancing class sizes, reducing the number of multi-graded classrooms, and providing more access to adults who can give them the help that they need. We’re creating middle schools that allow students to explore their interests – whether it is music or art, physical fitness, science and technology, computer coding, or engine repair. We’re opening up pathways for them to discover future careers, and working with local industry to provide hands-on learning opportunities and real-life experiences. We’re creating a school district that doesn’t just work for some kids, but truly meets the needs of them all.

We are so excited to welcome you to the 2016-2017 school year, and we look forward to working with our families and our communities to grow the very best Stillwater Area Public Schools possible – for all of our kids. We’ll continue sharing exciting news from our schools with you in the months ahead.