Today, we feature another editorial from Daryl Schrunk, who gives his thoughts on Dorchester and its school after a year on the job. Mr. Schrunk took over as superintendent of Dorchester's K-12 school at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
****I feel honored and blessed to be in my second year serving Dorchester Public School as superintendent. I want to thank all the students, parents, staff, board and patrons for all your support. I look forward to another year committed to offering a quality education with many opportunities for our students in grades PK-12.
The district hired Spencer Kotas as 7th and 8th grade math/science teacher; Alison Nickel as preschool teacher; Leanne Josoff as preschool para; and Kim Petrzilka as head cook. I would encourage everyone to take some time to introduce yourself and welcome them to the district.
K-12 enrollment for 2017-18 is projected to mirror 2016-17 (approximately 170 students). It is good to at least maintain similar numbers as last year. However, we are still down quite a few students from just a few years ago (185-190 students). Although, I am encouraged by the projected future enrollment from our Census report, I believe we must continue to seek ways to increase enrollment.
One of my goals last year was to start a school-based preschool. As you know, we were fortunate to get a three-year grant from Nebraska Department of Education. I am very excited for this opportunity for our community. However, it is just a piece of the puzzle to increase and maintain enrollment.
Like I have stated before (in previous articles), my goal is to average 15-16 students per grade level, which would give us a K-12 enrollment of 195-208 students. One of my superintendent goals that I have presented to the board of education is to increase enrollment with these plans:
- Seek option enrollment students (explore marketing opportunities).
- Not losing students opting into other districts.
- Students who have opted out return to district.
- Lots of conversations have been taking place around the community. I sense movement in housing development taking place, which is good for the school and community.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognize the Dorchester Board of Education. They are very committed to providing Dorchester children with a quality education, yet being mindful and prudent with taxpayer’s money.
A huge goal of their's is to "maintain clean, safe, attractive facilities that foster a positive learning environment." We are fortunate to have such a beautiful facility, but we must continue to replace and repair things in a timely manner. The board has also recently approved the purchase of more technology for the students using various grant funds.
This year's DPS Board of Education is comprised of the following individuals: Matt Hansen, Carol Schnell, Mike Hatfield, Kelli Schweitzer, Neal Pavlish and Steve Vyhnalek.
Here’s to a successful, safe school year for our students and staff!
Dorchester offers a quality education, supportive staff, new facilities, advanced technology and many opportunities for students in grades pre-Kindergarten through grade 12. At Dorchester, every student truly matters.