Mandan News

Wilfred Volesky: Thank you for the opportunity

Over the last several months there have been a number of tasks that I have needed to complete annually during my administrative career. Each time I completed a task, I was reminded that it was the last time I would need to do so. One of those tasks, which I will do for the last time, is to write this monthly newsletter for the Mandan News.

On June 30, my position as Superintendent of the Mandan School District will come to an end. Over the past six years I have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with a number of educators, students, school employees, school board members and community patrons to make the Mandan School District one of the best districts in the state. I have appreciated the willingness of these individuals to do whatever was necessary to make sure students had the opportunity to receive the best education possible.

Over the past six years I feel there have been a number of accomplishments. I would like to highlight three that I believe have had an impact on the education offered.

First, is the cooperation among stakeholders. In order to provide the best education possible you must have all stakeholders working in the same direction. Conflict among groups requires a great deal of energy and most often does not allow for new directions, programs or changes to be fully accomplished. Through a deliberate effort we created a trusting relationship between school board, educators and administration allowing us to concentrate on developing a positive educational environment throughout the district. To get parents and patrons involved we created committees and placed them on these committees so we had their input. As a result, I feel all stakeholders have the opportunity to have input on the quality of education provided to the students that attend Mandan Schools.

The second accomplishment is the academic performance of our students. I believe all of our students have performed well on the state assessment, as well as other assessments they have taken. I say this even though most of our schools have not made Adequate Yearly Progress the last several years. Meeting the AYP threshold is an unrealistic expectation and is not a true measurement of the academic performance of our students in reading, math, science and language arts. We expect our students to make at least one year of growth each year in all subject areas, which most of our students accomplish. A better measurement of our students’ performance is comparing them with the other 15 Class A Schools in North Dakota on the state assessment. During the 2011-12 school year, our eleventh grade students were compared to all other eleventh grade students in N.D. Class A Schools in reading, language arts, math and science. In this comparison our students placed first in reading, tied with Jamestown for first in science and placed second in math and language arts. We believe these scores are a result of excellent teachers in grades K-12, as well as the quality of education Mandan students are provided.

The last accomplishment is the current status of our district facilities. Good facilities are a necessity in order to offer a quality education. Over the past six years we have constructed new facilities, renovated others and completed a great deal of maintenance on our district facilities. Much of this was made possible by the stimulus funds we received several years ago. Today, our facilities are in good condition and meet the needs of the district adequately. The problem the district is currently facing is the projected increase in student enrollment within the next five years. The elementary schools are currently experiencing overcrowding at some grade levels and will not be able to handle the influx of new students expected at certain grade levels. In order to continue to provide a quality education a new elementary school will need to be constructed in the immediate future.

In closing, I wish to thank all stakeholders, especially our students, of the Mandan School District for the opportunity to serve you. It has been an honor and a privilege to work in a profession where one can make a positive difference in the lives of young people. I don’t believe there is another profession that I could have entered that would have allowed me to walk away with the feeling of satisfaction I have today.

I don’t have any specific plans on what I plan to do after retirement. My wife and I plan to continue to live in Mandan. I want to experience what retirement is like before I get involved in something else. I do plan to do more fishing and hunting, read books that I have been putting aside for a long time and spending valuable time with family. I look forward to seeing you at many of the activities occurring in the Mandan community.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve you.