We are well underway with the second semester in the Ellinwood Public School district. Winter athletics are reaching the midpoint of their seasons, and academically the district is diligently preparing students for a rigorous curriculum as we transition to the new common core standards. The district also has many exciting initiatives planned for the second half of the school year.
The district is beginning its strategic planning process. This process will entail four meetings throughout the second semester that will engage staff and patrons about ways to improve the district, culminating in the creation of a strategic plan that will help guide the philosophy and vision of the district. This is an opportunity for all patrons to become engaged and contribute input to the future of the district. All patrons are invited to attend these planning sessions. They will be 6 p.m.-8 p.m. in the Ellinwood School/Community Library on Jan. 21, Jan. 28, Feb. 18, March 4, and April 15 (only if necessary for a weather-related cancellation of a previous meeting). We hope to see many staff and patrons in attendance.
Academically, the district is continuing its strong tradition of rigor and excellence. Ellinwood Grade School received a Challenge Award for closing the gap on prior levels of student achievement. The most recent state assessment scores reveal exemplary achievement across all content areas and all grade levels. Almost half of the entire student body of the district qualified for the Eagle Excellence Program which measures positive metrics such as grades, attendance, behavior, and personal responsibility. We are also inviting the All-Star Healthy Choices Program to the district to help students make wise decisions about a variety of topics that impact the daily lives of students. Extra-curricular excellence is also being sustained. The EHS debate team recently qualified eight students for the state tournament. Four students qualified for bracket play and each of those brought home a state medal. The EHS boys and girls teams have four and six wins respectively with over half of the season remaining. Activities such as scholars bowl, vocal music, and instrumental music are successfully competing at the highest levels of their respective disciplines. Additionally, the EMS basketball teams are completing their seasons with successful showings in their league tournaments.
The district would also like to bring attention the upcoming “retro night” with Central Plains USD 112. The varsity basketball games will be played in the old high school gym. Alumni from both schools are encouraged to wear “throwback” apparel. We want the Ellinwood crowd to pack the gym to support our athletes to a victory on a special night at 6 p.m. on Feb. 4. “The Rivalry is Restored” is the theme. Let’s wake up the echoes from all generations of Eagle Nation to create an electric environment in support of the athletes. Please come dressed in your best from yesteryear!
The Board of Education will have three positions that will be up for election in April. The terms are for four years that begin on July 1, 2013. The filing deadline is Jan. 22 at noon. If anyone is interested in filing and has questions, he or she may contact the district office.
The district is embarking on many new and exciting initiatives to help grow the district and make it the best it can possibly be. We would like to invite all patrons to become actively engaged in the support of all district activities. Together we can make USD 355 a district of excellence for which everyone can be proud. Ellinwood Public Schools 2012-2013: Success Takes the Stairs.
Ben Jacobs is the superintendent from USD 355.