A community of caring

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Heather Davis Schmidt

I want to reiterate a heartfelt thank you to the community of Whitefish for supporting the levies in the May election. Your vote of confidence speaks to how much the community values our public schools.

Thank you for placing a high value on our staff, teachers, and children — and more broadly, on our local economy. Strong schools build a strong community and the citizens of Whitefish recognize this.

We have been hard at work on updating our strategic plan for 2019-2025 and have chosen to focus on areas that can have a large impact. Our work is a daily and continuous journey of improvement, and we are moving in the right direction.

First, we want to ensure that each child will improve academically every year. We will align all curriculum to state and national standards and work to ensure that each student will gain the same essential knowledge and skills.

Second, we will use data to drive improvement and implement consistent teacher collaboration. Through this collaboration, teacher teams will develop improved systems that nurture innovation and empower learning.

Third, we will continue to ensure that our schools are safe, inclusive, and welcoming—enhancing our social emotional learning curriculum and focusing even more on relationships and our community.

We recently had a very positive meeting with the K-12 Connect group about enhancing community through better communications and a positive tone. Members of the team shared ideas and suggestions and we identified the highest priority areas to focus on where we can create positive change.

Developing strategies to streamline communication within the entire Whitefish Schools community was on the list. We also want to ensure that accurate and factual information is shared, as well as create more open communication between the Board of Trustees and our Family Involvement Teams. Opportunities for discussions with parents, teachers, and administrators — as well as socialization and development opportunities for students and staff across grade-levels and buildings — will also be a priority.

I’ll continue to let the Whitefish Schools community know about our work in these areas of improvement in communications and community building. As long as we keep in mind that we are all in this work together for our students, we will continually improve. We’re not perfect, but we can always get better.

In many ways, I feel like we have grown as a community in the last few years and I am thankful for those who have been willing to share in the challenges we face. As hard as it might be to hear criticisms, I am pleased that people are willing to step forward to share what they are feeling so we can learn, build relationships, solve problems, and improve.

As we look to next year, we have a strong vision for the future and I am eager to continue to work with the Whitefish community. If you have any questions, I always want to address them directly. I also want to encourage even more people to look for opportunities to participate, learn, and join us in the work.

There is a lot of good going on in public education and in Whitefish Schools. We should celebrate that! Have a safe and restful summer — and remember how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the natural wonders all around us. It is something that so many people don’t get every day, this beauty that we call home.

Embrace it and enjoy it!

Heather Davis Schmidt is the Superintendent of the Whitefish School District.

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