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Focus on Education

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District busy while students re-charge

It seems like everywhere I go during the summer months I am asked by community members if I am enjoying my summer vacation. They are surprised to learn that school district work continues throughout the summer for me and many other staff members. I am afforded a vacation like many private business employees but by and large work continues, only with a different focus.  Across the district the summer months are the best time to complete a number of important tasks. What follows is a sampling of the work that typically goes on every summer.

During the month of June all secondary schools breathe a sigh of relief after a safe and successful graduation ceremony. Increasingly, graduations occur during the second week of June, and school for other students typically winds up several days later. It is a time for teachers to finalize grades, principals to finalize staff evaluations, and begin planning for the next school year. This includes ordering of supplies, curricular materials, and staffing. For most principals and some teachers this work takes until the end of the month to complete.

Our custodial and grounds staff springs into action shortly after school ends for students. With 11 schools and several other facilities, there is much cleaning to be done. Deep cleaning includes vacuuming and shampooing carpets, waxing floors in hallways, classrooms and gymnasiums, wiping down blinds, reworking bathroom parts that receive constant usage, safety checking HVAC systems, check in and delivery of orders, and maintenance of school grounds.  Beyond those routine tasks there is opportunity for painting and special projects that typically extends into Labor Day weekend.

Some members of the Child Nutrition staff remain very busy providing meal service at Farmin Stidwell Elementary, City Beach, SWAC and other locations as part of the USADA food services program. These are extremely popular programs for students and for many provide the primary meal of the day. This year the district partnered with the Bonner County Library system and Girl Scouts to provide learning opportunities with the meals.

Accurate budget work is imperative in this economic climate. The budget cycle begins with the adoption of the new budget by June 30. The district’s fiscal year begins on July 1. As a result, budget development work reaches a fever pitch prior to adoption date. 

The remainder of summer provides time to “close out the books,” order material through the district office’s accounting system, and accept delivery of textbooks, paper, and other supplies into the warehouse until staff return in August.

The Technology Team works all summer cleaning, refreshing, and updating computers. Any new work such as the addition of software, SMART Boards, or projectors is done all summer. The five staff members who do this work spend the summer booked solid on these projects. The amount of work in this area has grown exponentially the past few years.

From an instructional standpoint it is the time of year we analyze student test results, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and then plan staff development and strategies to improve student and staff performance. It is an opportunity to look critically at the work of the district and build plans to make the learning experience for our students more productive. Many staff return by mid-August to begin their work and it is imperative that plans be in place.

In short, summer is a great vacation time for our students, but for much of the school district it is a time to get ready for another great year of learning. It is a bit quieter since 3,600 smiling faces aren’t roaming through the buildings. But we know that when fall sports practices begin in mid-August, those familiar faces will return expecting the best of us.

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Author info

Dick Cvitanich Dick Cvitanich is the Superintendent of Schools for the Lake Pend Oreille School District. He has been an educator for 33 years, and became superintendent for LPOSD in 2006. He was educated at the University of Washington where he earned a BA in History and a Superintendent's Credential. He has been married to Diane for 32 years and they have raised three sons who "taught us as much as we taught them." "I have a passion for public education and the role it plays in our democracy. In my free time I read, ski ... come to think of it, I don't have that much free time."

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education, Lake Pend Oreille School District

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