Bowman County community members it is my pleasure to report that Bowman County Schools is having another great school year! We have just completed just over one quarter of our school year and things are not only moving along very swiftly, but also with a great deal of successes along the way. Academically our students have just completed their 1st quarter of school and have begun their statewide assessments starting with the academic disciplines of Science and Mathematics. I want to thank all parents for coming to our parent-teacher conferences this fall as we had our highest turnout in quite some time. Our fall sports seasons were all very successful. Volleyball, Cross Country and Football represented our community very well and we at Bowman County Schools are continuing with our statewide reputation of highly competitive athletic programming along with and more importantly the highest regard for exceptional sportsmanship while in these competitive events. Most recently, our high school students placed 2nd at Regionals in the one act play competition and qualified for state competition in Jamestown later this month. The common factors that have allowed all of this to happen are first and foremost, the kids. As I have said many times, Bowman County has the BEST kids I have ever had the privilege to lead. Another critical factor is our dedicated staff who always goes the extra mile everyday for these great kids. Finally, the parents and guardians who have joined with us at Bowman County Schools and only want what all parents want, the very best educational experience that their children can have. Bowman County Schools is working hard each day to provide this for these students.
Bowman County Schools has a “new” web page and a smart phone application. Let me start with the new web page. This past summer Bowman County Schools contracted with the company Appetegy to create a new web page and our very first smartphone application. We did this to provide even more public access to our school district, and access that is easily accessible and user friendly. The actual hyperlink to the school district webpage remains the same, http://www.bowman.k12.nd.us as our old web page. Please try it out, go to this link and let me know what you think. Some of the features I really like is the easy access to school district information. Please click on the “Menu” button on the top maroon and white banner. When you click on the “menu” button it will take you to a selection of six main submenus including; “live feed” which will give you instant access to the newest news regarding the school district. “News,” is another area for significant school district news. “Events,” which will give you an up to date schedule of all school district events. “Menus,” is the current breakfast and lunch school meal menus for both Rhame Elementary School and Bowman K-12 School. The “Staff,” sub menu lists all of our staff and gives the community easy access to their e-mail address if you would need to get in contact with one of our staff. The sixth sub-menu is “Documents.” This is where you can easily access many school district documents. Below these six sub menu buttons the user also has access to more specific links to all of our specific schools, many of our specific activities, and even a link listing our school board members, school board meeting notices, agendas and official minutes. *My favorite feature on our new school web page is called the gallery. With this new web page we can feature various photos of our school district and the many amazing things we have going on around in Bowman County Schools. On the initial web page please take a minute and allow the gallery to scroll through all of the newest pictures of our students and staff in action. It is ever changing and featuring our greatest asset in our school system, our students.
One of the main reasons I recommended the change to a new web page from Apptegy was because of the smartphone application that came with this upgrade. Bowman County Schools has its own smartphone app. If you have a smartphone, I encourage you to go to (1.) the Apple App Store if you have an Apple smartphone or if you have an Android cell phone then go to your, (2.) “Play Store” and download the app. In your search area in either of these smartphone application stores, enter in “Bowman County” and in your search responses, you will see the Bowman County Bulldog. Click on this and your app will begin to download to your device. Once it is loaded on your phone this Bowman County Schools application will give you the most easily assessable access to our school district. Most of the features of the school web page are included in the app, but not all of them. One of my considerations in the development of the smartphone app for our school district is one of our school district goals, increasing communication and access to and from our school district and our stakeholders. Both our new school web page and app are “synced” with the school district’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. As with the new school web page, the school district application is ever changing and we will continue to tweak it until we feel it provides the user the very best experience possible. Please give the new Bowman County School web page and app a good long look and we encourage your feedback.
My other topic I want to touch base with our community member stake holders is to communicate a better understanding of how much kindergarten curriculum has advanced through the years. Just a few years ago our kindergartens only attended school a half day for these students. At the end of the year in this half day format our kindergarten students master the basic skills of letter and number recognition. They were taught some basic classroom behavioral benchmarks of learning; for example, how to work with others productively and how to share stories appropriately. Two basic classroom management skills of how to raise a hand to be called upon, and how to quietly sit in a group and actively listen were developed within these kindergarten students. These are all fundamental and necessary skills and still today taught to our kindergarten students. Our challenge in all schools is that our curriculum continues to change and challenge our students and teachers. These curricular changes and challenges begin in kindergarten in a school district. Currently, not only do we have to have the majority of our kindergarteners reading by the end of their school year, we need them to be writing in basic complete sentences. A national study released last week shows that students who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers. This challenge for a school district begins in preschool and kindergarten. A National School Boards Association study shows the research is clear: if children cannot read proficiently by the end of third grade, they face daunting hurdles to success in school and beyond. Third grade marks a pivot point in reading. In fourth grade, students begin encountering a wider variety of texts. By 4th grade, able readers have learned to extract and analyze new information and expand their vocabularies by reading. Struggling readers rarely catch up with their peers academically and are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Furthermore, this same National School Board Study stated every student who does not complete high school costs our society an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity. Student academic success all starts in high quality preschool and kindergarten programming. We must collectively acknowledge the critical importance of early childhood education.
I encourage any stakeholder who has questions regarding our school district to go directly to the lowest supervisory level of our staffing and begin the chain of command to seek out answers. Once you have done this nine times out of ten your situation typically will be handled appropriately. I am always available and my door has always been open to answer questions. As we go towards the Thanksgiving holiday I do not have to remind all of you how thankful I am to have both the honor and the privilege to lead our students and staff at Bowman County Schools. Wishing all of you a safe and happy holiday season!