June 2023 Superintendent's Corner
As we enter into the bulk of the summer we hope your summer is off to a great start! June 1st the statewide transfer portal opened. The transfer portal is a way that families can request to attend a school other than the district they reside in. While our current Governor is taking a lot of credit for implementing plans that foster school choice, the reality is that school choice has been in place for quite some time. For many years now, if a school district gave the “OK” for a “non-resident” family to come to their school district, the students could do so. It is true that current rules have added a few restrictions for schools as to why they can't allow a student but flexibility still exists for districts to deny a student's request to attend. A state government would be hard-pressed to mandate a tax-paying entity to allow nontaxpayers access to services.
When we ended the 2022-’23 school year we had about 220 students enrolled, over the history of Friend Public School, the district has had as many as 260 students and as few as about 180 students. So, we are currently right in the middle of the “highs” and “lows.” Much of school funding is based on the number of students a school has. The 220 enrollment number allows us to be financially sound but not overly comfortable. We have decent facilities, we are able to pay staff decent salaries, and we provide the best services we can for students but we have to be very careful with our planning. If we were able to gain several more students, we would be able to offer more to everyone including our students and our staff.
We certainly don't claim to be perfect but we do have a great small school district. We have a caring staff who go out of their way to make sure our students are cared for and that they are taught well. Our size allows our staff, our students, and our parents the opportunity to get to know each other well. We truly become like a family unit.
Our small size also allows our staff to give more individual attention to each student. Students who struggle get additional support and attention. We have had students who struggled at other schools make great improvements here at Friend.
Over the last year, we have worked to improve the various services we provide students. We have added new elective courses for students in grades 5th-8th. We have made improvements to our facilities. We have upgraded our transportation by purchasing new vehicles and we have made improvements to our food service.
In order for our school system to be it's most effective, we need help from parents. Parents can help support their children's educational process by ensuring they attend regularly unless they are sick. Parents can keep up with the academic progress of their children. If progress is not meeting expectations let’s work together to get a plan in place to make improvements.
If you know someone who may be looking for a school choice for their child next year, and they will be a supportive partner for the school district, please send them this information. We would love to give them a tour and visit with them.