​As the school year is coming to an end, it occurs to me that there is so much that is not visible during the course of a single school year.  River Bend staff have worked extremely hard providing service to families with newborns to students through age 21!  Every student we come in contact with, regardless of their age, comes to us with their own story.  For some, the story is complex and full of many difficulties and  hurdles to overcome.   For others it is less complex, but everyone has hurdles nonetheless.  
It was with great joy that I watched students complete their educational requirements in the Area Learning Center and receive their completion certificate.  With that certificate comes a recommendation to receive their diploma from their home district.  Did you know that an Area Learning Center cannot award a diploma?  Each student gets their diploma from the district they came from.  
The completion ceremony that the students participate in is an awesome celebration of overcoming many difficulties.  These students commit to getting their high school diploma despite challenges they face. Two students shared their "story" and told the rest of the students how proud getting that diploma  made them feel as they had thought it would never happen. Their message?  It may take longer,  you may have trouble,  it IS hard...but stick with it! 
 I call that TENACITY! 
Several program and procedural changes were implemented this year within the many other areas of River Bend.  Although change is always hard, the end result is better service to students within our member districts.  I am so fortunate to have such a great staff who really believe in what they are doing!
Finally, I could not be more proud of the work that the staff did as we implemented Professional Learning Communities for the first year.  We are learning the process together and I am hopeful that next year is even better.  It is a great opportunity for staff to focus on gaining knowledge that is specific to them and their professional practice with the goal of improving student performance.  
So, who is ready for summer?  I KNOW that students are but I also know that it is a valuable time for staff to regenerate both personally and professionally, so that they can bring their "best selves" back for the 2014/15 school year!
Have a safe and wonderful summer!

Erin Toninato, Education District Director

Special Education Director proudly serving the needs of our member districts: Butterfield, St. James, Madelia, Sleepy Eye, New Ulm, GFW, Sibley East, Lafayette Charter School, Green Isle Community School, Minnesota New Country School

"To love what you do and feel that it matters...how can anything be more fun"?


  August 2014  
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