New Prague High School will see many changes this year

By Tom Doig, Principal

New Prague High School

At New Prague High School, we continually strive to provide a quality education for all students. Providing a quality education takes the work of many individuals and a great staff. Over the course of the last year, the staff has been working on many changes to prepare for the upcoming school year and raise the level of education we provide for our students.

One of the major changes for 2004-2005 school year is the revamping of our math program. Last year, our math department reviewed the curriculum in our Applied Math classes and felt the rigor of those classes did not meet the needs of the students taking those classes to prepare them for the MCA 11th grade state math test. It was also felt that the classes did not prepare them for the expectations that would be expected of them in the working world. Because of the above concerns, the math department decided to implement a new math program that would meet the needs and concerns expressed above. The new math program is called Integrated Math and uses hands-on learning as well as interweaving different math topics into one class. The new Integrated Math series will provide a more rigorous curriculum for our students.

This year, we will also be implementing a new Sustained Silent Reading program at New Prague High School. This program is designed to improve the reading and comprehension level of our students. Every Tuesday and Thursday, for 20 minutes after the conclusion of first hour, all students and staff will read. It is our hopes that this program will improve our students desire to read and develop a passion for reading. We also are looking at ways to incorporate reading across the curriculum strategies in our classrooms this school year.

We are also adding a college composition class, which is offered through the College in the Schools program through the University of Minnesota. With the addition of this class, plus our three Advanced Placement classes, our students are now capable of acquiring up to 12-college credits right here at New Prague High School. In the future, we hope to offer even more classes for college credit to challenge our students.

Another change that will occur will be the work that will take place with regards to the new state standards and the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Starting with the 2004-2005 school year, our staff will be working on implementing new standards in Social Studies and Science. These new standards will need to be fully implemented by the 2007-2008 school year with English and Math fully implemented by the 2004-2005 school year. To meet these deadlines, it will take a major commitment from the staff and the school district. For more information on the new standards, please contact the high school counseling office.

As you enter our building this fall you will notice some changes to the building. We have added a new set of lockers in the commons area to meet the growth of new students within our building. Current projections at the high school show our enrollment will increase by approximately 100 students. This increase will require adding tables to our lunch area. This growth also means we must be more creative in using classroom space. This year, we will have 2-3 teachers without their own classrooms, therefore they will be teaching using portable carts and moving from room to room to teach their classes.

Because of the generosity of the New Prague community through last year’s school levy and the growth of our enrollment, it has made it possible to hire much-needed staff. We’ve hired 14 new teachers whose positions range from part-time to full-time. The new hires include: Dara Bishop, English; Janelle Eiden, Spanish; Erin Scott, Math; Sarah Minette, Band; Kari Schroeder, Spanish; Teresa Hoverson, Art; Nate Fuller, Social Studies; Jessica Ebeling, Counselor; Jennifer Hoff, Math; Heidi Thies, Choir; Becky Wolf, Special Services; and a new special services teacher and part time physical education teacher who haven’t been hired at this time. We are excited and happy to have them join our already great staff.

The last change is cosmetic. In September or early October, look for our new school sign, which will be erected in front of the school. This granite sign will be a welcomed addition to our grounds. The sign was partially funded by last year’s student council.

We are excited about the changes at New Prague High School and look forward to another great school year. Remember, if you have concerns or questions, feel free to contact me, I will be happy to listen.

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