Pontrelli and Hill explore schools for National Education Week

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While students strive for academic success, this week, Superintendent Denise Pontrelli and Josiah Hill, English teacher and Union President, will be learning from all the schools in the district.

National Education Week was founded by Devin Schain, and its goal is to expand educational endeavors through networking and enhanced innovations. In order to learn from other schools and observe how they compare, Pontrelli and Hill visited every school in the district throughout the week of Nov. 2.

Until recently, there has not been a certified way for the district to celebrate this week.

“It has been different in many sites and buildings. While there are some administration that have showcased it in the past, we haven’t had an official way to acknowledge the week until now,” Hill said.

The purpose of this week is for progress within the district. Visiting other schools will aspire inspiration for improvement.

“We’re really excited to have the Superintendent with us this week. Getting to know the staff and students on many levels is something I wouldn’t pass up. It creates a positive direction to grow,” Hill said.

Hill represented the District faculty by touring Pontrelli around the school. He will also be accompanying her when visiting all the schools in the district.

“I see it as a tremendous opportunity to serve the community. I had some amazing teachers that I was lucky enough to have, such as grandparents. They seem fulfilled by the work that they did,” Hill said.

Pontrelli sees this tour as an opportunity to further engage with the students and faculty in the district.

“Visiting these schools allow me to connect with people and build relationships. For me, I hope to understand the difference between the teachers and kids world and what we could do to support that,” Pontrelli said.

An aspect to focus on is improving the connection between students and faculty. Hill plans to observe the interactions between them to work towards building strong relationships.

“It’s our hope to have some long-term stability in the district and that’s going to require the attention to maintain relationships. This is a great opportunity. I’m really excited to have it,” Hill said.

In comparison to other schools in the state, District 834 stands in great academic standards according to the Superintendent.

“To be honest, what I’ve learned through visiting Stillwater is that the schools is already very strong in academics and the arts. Another thing I see is that teachers are always making an improvement,” Pontrelli said.

Even students realize how important education is to their future. Junior Andrew Gomez believed that it is crucial to thrive in life.

Pullquote Photo

For me, I hope to understand the difference between the teachers and kids world and what we could do to support that.”

— Denise Pontrelli

“Even though I don’t like the homework, I know how important [education] is for the development of a country and society,” Gomez said.

The education in this district can be vastly different tin different regions of the world. Comparing how Minnesota handles education to different countries could further promote progress.

“In Columbia, the schedule is different everyday, the classes are more different, and everyone had to take the same classes so that no one fell behind,” Gomez said.

Despite the difficulty to plan a trip through all the schools in the district, teachers who have a passion for education would not trade the opportunity in for the world.

“What I love about education is it’s always something new and evolving. If you’re really doing what you love for a job, it doesn’t seem like work,” Pontrelli said.

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