Mark Vollmer, Minot
Minot Public School District No. 1 adopted the mission statement "Empower all learners to succeed in a changing world." I fully believe in and support that statement because today's society is different from yesterday and is different from what it will be in the future. We must adjust to better serve our students. An article in The Minot Daily News on Dec. 6 indicated that Minot Public School District had larger enrollments in the 1970s than we do at the present time. I believe this is not a fair comparison to today's enrollment challenges, and I feel it is important for the Minot community to understand that education, like other aspects of life, is significantly different than it was four decades ago.
In the early 1970s schools did not offer kindergarten, which currently utilizes 36 classrooms in our district. Special education programs were in their infancy. Graduation requirements and graduation rates were significantly lower, and the average number of pupils per classroom was considerably larger. In the 1970s, there were approximately 1,500 more students educated in the schools on Minot Air Force Base than there are presently. We cannot move students who aren't affiliated with the Air Force to school buildings on Minot Air Force Base.
Our current reality is we have students being educated in 24 portable classrooms, and in non-traditional learning spaces. Our enrollments are projected to grow by more than 1,000 students in the next five years. All of our schools are projected to exceed enrollment capacities by 2018. Student enrollment growth is real and the need for additional space won't go away. Our students truly suffer in overcrowded conditions.
Schools have increasingly higher needs for safety and security in the present and future. These are just some of the important facts which led the school board to propose this bond election. You can find more information on our website at: www.minot.k12.nd.us/pages/Minot_Public_Schools/Bond_Issue
It is critical for Minot's students to receive an education which prepares them for the 21st century, not the mid-20th century. Our students are being educated to be productive members of society, who will be employed in jobs that in many cases have yet to be created. Our school district has developed a future-focused plan to provide students with appropriate learning spaces, which fit our mission, and meets students' needs as 21st century citizens. To prepare our future citizens it is important for them to have opportunities to access a broad and rich curriculum.
As school superintendent, I want to ensure that district patrons understand: Enrollment numbers from the distant past don't tell the story of present-day schools. We have a responsibility to prepare our students for the future, not the past. To empower all learners to succeed in a changing world, Minot Public School District No. 1 needs to conduct business differently than we did during the 1970s. Our future, not the past, is our focus.
(Mark Vollmer is superintendent of the Minot Public School District)