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Poplar Schools Sets Goals

“We are making sure that everything we do takes care of our staff and provides our students with the keys to grow,” stated Poplar School District Superintendent Dan Schmidt.

In pursuit of this, Schmidt has three district goals for the year: 1. Health and Wellness: Understanding trauma informed practice for students and staff to implement a system which readies learners.

2. Teaching and Learning:

Analyzing individual student learning to make data-informed decisions for differentiated instruction.

3. Operations: Institute a framework for all operations which reflects our student’s wellbeing as the focal point for all decisions.

Schmidt will be aided by Dr. Keith Erickson, who was hired as assistant superintendent. Erickson’s focus is continuing the curriculum started last year by Dr. Karen Toavs, integrating the Indian Education for All standards with curriculum standards.

“It hadn’t been updated in a while,” explained Schmidt. “It provides a consistent standard for all teachers. Every lesson has a cultural component to it of some nature.”

Poplar saw tremendous growth lastsSpring with Smarter Balanced assessments. The assessments are designed to aid instruction and give teachers tools to readily identify learning needs and choose resources to meet those needs.

“We hope to see that continue to grow and improve,” stated Schmidt.

The schools will have thirteen new faculty members this year. New elementary school teachers are Amy Benson, kindergarten; Rolfe Schwartzkopf, second grade; Marly Firemoon and Jessica Peterson. third grade; and Jennifer Mandan and Brandi Burshia, fourth grade. At the middle school new staff members are Amanda Simonson, counselor; Melissa Matthews, seventh-grade math; and Adrian Spotted Bird, eighth-grade social studies). The high school added Jacob Magura and Tiffani Darby, English; Jacob Kunkel, social studies; and Cindy Morales, career counselor.

The Poplar athletic department also sees changes this year with a new staff for volleyball and crosscountry. Maureen Nordwick will be head volleyball coach, assisted by Shannon Martell. New crosscountry coaches are Karolyn Kohl, head coach; and Gib Medicine Cloud, assistant coach.

The school saw major renovations over the summer with the installation of a new video camera security system that covers more areas of the schools. Other safety and security improvements include new mag-locks on all doors.

The school yard received a makeover with new playground equipment for elementary students and an outdoor fitness area for the middle school. There will be a Back-to-School Community Night BBQ on Aug. 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. on the main playground.

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