January 21, 2013
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton ISD #2164 Mid-Year Review
Greetings Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton School District Community!
This week marks the transition between semesters at DGF School District for the 2012-2013 academic year. That being said, it has been a busy first semester. Maintenance, teaching, and academic support staff have worked diligently for the requirements needed to transition from a 7-8 junior high to the newly created 6-8 grade DGF Middle School. Food service staff implemented the requirements needed to meet the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act, and we continue to monitor the changes as children transition to the new menu selections and portion size requirements.
The DGF administrative team, working in tandem with the District Instructional Leadership Team (ILT), created system improvement goals for the 2012-2013 school year. The ILT meets monthly to monitor and adjust the progress toward these goals. Our main focus for the year is moving toward district alignment of programming. In particular, we are working to establish consistency in what we do so the opportunities for our students are equitable regardless of the site the student is served.
The major initiative involving district alignment efforts for the teaching staff this year has been the work to create Essential Learner Outcomes (ELO) and Common Formative Assessments (CFA) for selected curricular areas. We are committed to completion of ELOs and CFAs for K-5 math & language arts and 6-12 content areas by the start of the 2013-2014 school year. In fact, district stakeholders can view samples of recently created ELOs on the high school web page by clicking on the high school link, department link, and finally a particular department to view the ELO’s and Learning Targets created by staff. We will continue to provide the necessary resources to insure the ELO/CFA work is completed and available to the public by the start of the next school year. This will be an ongoing process since K-5 staff will continue ELO & CFA creation for other core subjects such as science and social studies over the coming years and all K-12 staff will be reviewing these documents as we align the work to the textbook/resource review cycle.
The effort to increase district alignment of programming has and will continue to be accomplished through a foundation embedded by Professional Learning Community (PLC) concepts. During the 1st semester, a PLC steering committee was formed with representation from each site. The PLC steering committee meets monthly to review the progress toward making DGF School District a true PLC in our efforts of system improvement. With input from staff at all sites, the steering committee has developed local PLC norms as a foundation for how teams will approach system improvement efforts. A copy of the DGF District Norms can be found in an attachment at the bottom of this page.
Lastly, much time and effort has been spent at the district level in working to correct school district boundary issues which have evolved over many years. In fact, according to some documents part of our present existing boundary limits were created in 1911 when the previous Dilworth Common School District became an Independent School District within the same boundaries. Through multiple consolidations over the years the present ISD #2164 currently has approximately 275 square miles of land within the school district boundaries.
One of the misconceptions regarding the funding of school districts is that as land values increase, a school district is gaining more revenue. Unfortunately this is not true. Based on the “Minnesota Miracle of 1971” school district funding has evolved to an equalization based on tax capacity of school districts. Those which are “property poor” receive a higher equalization of state aid. Those which are “property rich” can expect more of the equalized revenue to come from property taxes. As an example, the FY14 operating levy for DGF School District will be 49% aid and 51% levy. In FY09, the operating levy was 59% aid and 41% levy. As we have seen increases in land values, the state has shifted more responsibility from state aid to the local tax levy. The $500/pupil unit referendum has not changed, just the distribution of responsibility.
If and when we are able to make changes in our school district boundaries it will be based on an effort to move more “open enrolled” students and families to residential status. As of January 2nd, we have 1447 K-12 students enrolled at DGF School District. Of that number, 449 of those students are non-residents of our district. This means that over 31% of the families do not have access to vote for improvement efforts within our school district. Our efforts to change the current district boundaries is to give more people that have a vested interest the opportunity to vote in our school district. This is NOT about moving grade bands between locations. If and when our district student growth causes a need for discussion of facility expansion, we will provide an open invitation for all stakeholders to have a voice in the formulation of those plans.
As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding any programming associated with the DGF School District, do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience. In partnership we will continue to make our schools a great place for student learning opportunities!
Bryan Thygeson, Superintendent
DGF School District