Parents, Students & Community Members,
Thank you and the Lyman Board of Education for the opportunity to serve your students and your communities as your school district superintendent and high school principal. The new school year is upon us and the school staff are committed to providing your children with a quality education that will allow them to pursue their educational and career goals. I look forward to getting to know all the students, their parents, grandparents and other members of the five communities that make up the Lyman District.
The educational staff and I have high expectations for all of our students. They are part of a rapidly changing world where global communication, high mobility and the integration and use of technology are part of our everyday lives. Today’s students need to be able to compete with children from our state, our country and from countries around the world. South Dakota’s 175 student contact days per school year is the shortest of any state in the U.S. The length of the average school year in the United States is 20 to 40 days shorter than many countries in Europe and Asia. Therefore, to remain competitive, our teachers and our students need to work harder and be more efficient utilizing the time we do have for instruction.
The SD Board of Education, the SD Dept. of Education, and Governor Daugaard have committed to adopting Common Core Standards for our students. SD is part of a consortium of states that have chosen to develop and adopt these standards with the goal of having our students develop the knowledge base and skills that will allow them to compete with students from other countries. There has been some opposition to adopting the Common Core Standards for fear that they are part of a nationally mandated curriculum. The Common Core did not come from the federal government or the U.S. Dept. of Education. It actually originated with a group of Republican Governors concerned about establishing higher standards for U.S. students. The development of the standards has been done at the state level with public input from teachers, administrators and community members. This is an open process with SD currently seeking public input for standards in the curriculum areas of K-12 technology, fine arts, science, and physical education.
The standards that have been adopted in language arts and mathematics have been posted on the SD Dept. of Education website for some time. While there is a heavy emphasis on higher order thinking skills and problem solving, most people that take the time to examine the standards will find that the common core standards align fairly closely with the previous SD standards. The teachers, administrators and community members that have worked on the standards have done so to strengthen what was already in place. In many cases, the biggest change has been to expect students to master the same skills, but to do so at an earlier point in their education.
We must have clearly identified educational goals and objectives for our students. We must also have quality assessments to determine whether the students are meeting those goals and objectives. This is the only way to insure that they will have a number of educational and career choices when they leave high school. Many current jobs and career field options did not even exist ten years ago. Our students need to be problem solvers and able to adapt as the world changes because that change is constant.
Your support and involvement in your local school district is important. Your concerns are important to us. The challenge of meeting the educational needs of our students is important for their personal welfare, for the communities they will live in and our country. When you do have concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the school administration, either myself or our elementary principal, Mr. Noyes. The district has a great mission statement in, “Communities united in empowering students to build a foundation for life” . Working together we can accomplish that goal.
Mr. Lynn Vlasman, Supt.
4:00 PM DBL HDR at RCC MT.
2:00 PM DBL HDR vs. Bennett Co.