High Levels of Learning For All Students – Welcome Back 2016-17

All of us at ADM are getting ready for students to join us on Tuesday, August 23, to get started on making 2016-17 a truly great year. It truly is a great time to be a Tiger and it is an honor to serve alongside our talented and committed teachers, administrators, and support staff.

Our teachers and administrators started back together this fall by spending time re-examining some fundamental aspects of our district as a “professional learning community” or PLC. The core of PLC work takes place on collaborative teams (like all teachers teaching 4th grade, or 6-8 math, or PK-12 music) where members work interdependently on team-developed learning goals.

However, the first “characteristic” that needs to be in place for PLCs to prosper and sustain is a shared mission (purpose), vision (what we want to become), collective commitments (actions that will lead to fulfilling our mission), and goals (clear targets and timelines) ALL focused on student learning. These are called the PLC Four Pillars.

In short, we reached a clear consensus on our district mission:

We are committed to engaging ALL students in a challenging and supportive environment that ensures ALL students learn at high levels

This is a fundamental paradigm shift away from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. In order to live out our mission we must become hungry for evidence of student learning and respond quickly and aggressively when students do not learn the essential learning standards/targets.

There is so much more I could write about our PLC journey and steps to come. Look for more information coming out this fall and on our website. As we start our school year, I want to ask parents to support our actions to provide students with what they need, when they need it – from staying late for tutoring or coming in early, and supporting us when we don’t make things an option for students who have missing work or won’t re-take an assessment. We need to partner together to take our great district to even higher levels. Thanks.

We are in the final stages of all the building projects financed through the 2014 bond issue. Adel Elementary and DeSoto Intermediate additions have been in use for a full year, along with major parking lot improvements and interior renovations. The middle school and high school additions are ready for students this fall. All of these new classrooms and renovated spaces are amazing.

The major upgrade (phase 1) to the stadium complex is in the final stages. This phase includes a new turf field, new track, storage building, and scoreboard. The track surface will be installed in September and we are able to host all of our scheduled varsity football games. Phase 2 planning involves replacing the existing concessions/restrooms building at the stadium. Design work is on-going and a tentative timeline is for construction to begin this spring. Phase 3 will follow and focus on softball and baseball complex improvements.

Enrollment growth is our new normal at ADM, and we expect over 1,800 students to start school this fall with a large kindergarten class of over 160. The tax abatement program in Adel is spurring residential growth. We have an enrollment projection analysis in progress and anticipate this projection will assist us in our facility planning for the future. Stay tuned on this issue. . .growth brings its own set of challenges, but is indicative, in large part, to the reputation ADM has in central Iowa.

There is so much more I want to communicate, like our planning for student technology improvements, our Teacher Leadership system we are launching this year, and so much more. Thanks for your patience as we get the year started – by the end of the third or fourth day of school we will have the routines down and corrected most of the start of the year issues. Thank you for trusting us with your sons and daughters. It is a privilege we value deeply.

Contact me anytime with suggestions and ideas on how we can do things better.

Greg Dufoe
@gdufoe on Twitter