As the 2018-19 school year draws to a close, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the year that was.

I never cease to be amazed by our community of learners and the staff that supports them in and out of the classroom. Whether it’s work done in the classroom, on the athletic fields, or in any of our many extracurriculars, our students continue to impress.

Making sure we support the success of all our students is at the front of my mind as I think about this past year, and our work over the summer to prepare for the next one.

Personalized learning: Eastern Carver County Schools is defined by exceptional, personalized learning. We know that no two students learn alike, and what works for one student may not work for his or her classmate. We continue to work to ensure all of our students have the tools and resources they need to learn at high levels and achieve their personal best.

Equity matters: We are committed to being a school district where every student feels safe, welcome, and valued, and our work to develop and support equity, inclusion, and diversity in every building in our district is foundational to that success. This is the right work to be doing, and we will continue to invest in making our district stronger for the benefit of all of our students.

Managing growth: Our 2019-20 kindergarten enrollment is already exceeding projections, and we know that with 1,400 more students expected over the five years (most in elementary), the need for more space is real. The school board is considering operating and capital levies this fall to provide more resources to meet growing needs in a fiscally responsible way.

As this school year comes to an end, there’s much to celebrate: nationally-recognized music programs; high graduation rates with gains across all categories; community partnerships like the one we have with U.S. Fish and Wildlife at Rapids Lake. These are just a few examples.

I’m lucky to get out and visit the schools in our district throughout the year and more profound are the stories that don’t get attention. The kindergartener who learns to read; the middle schooler with anxiety who presents to their whole class to applause; the high schooler who goes in for extra help and the answers finally click. This is the work that matters, and these are the experiences and relationships that will stay with these students long after they leave our district.

The spotlight has been on our community this year for reasons none of us would have chosen. A reflection of this past school year wouldn’t be authentic without acknowledging where we have struggled. But I believe — I know — we are more than the sum of these stories.

We have amazing students, a committed and talented staff, and a wonderful, caring community. We will be stronger, and we will be better, because at the end of the day what matters is our students.

The end of a school year is always a milestone, a time of transition. This year, that feels especially true at Eastern Carver County Schools. As our graduating class gets ready to walk across the stage to the next step in their journey, so too does our district.

Sustaining our future means doing the work of personalized learning, investing in equity, and managing growth so that all our students can succeed. That’s what’s on my agenda for the summer, and what’s on my mind as I look to the 2019-20 school year.

Thanks to all of you for your ongoing support of our schools, and our kids. See you in the fall.

Clint Christopher is superintendent of Eastern Carver County Schools.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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