Dear Northfield School District Families:
I hope this message finds you well. I am grateful every day for the chance to serve you and our community. I appreciate your ongoing support and trust in educating your children. As we move forward, these semi-monthly updates will include bright spots and other information associated with the district’s strategic plan.
Graduation rates announced
Last week, the Minnesota Department of Education announced the graduation rates for 2021. Bucking the state trend, Northfield High School improved its four-year graduation rate, despite the impact of the pandemic. 96.7% of the school’s 334 seniors graduated on time. Out of the ten students who did not graduate in four years, over half of them continued towards their diplomas. The state average graduation rate in 2021 was 83.3%. While the Northfield Area Learning Center’s four-year graduation rate dropped, over 80% of those students who did not graduate in four years continued toward their diploma!
Partnerships: Congratulations to HCI on 30 years of doing good things for kids!
One of the district’s strategic commitments is partnerships and the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) is an amazing partner. They recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. HCI is “… dedicated to building partnerships and encouraging community collaborations that support, value and empower youth. We do this by bringing together programs and individuals and providing necessary support so that they can best put their expertise and resources toward efforts that positively impact youth.” HCI makes significant contributions to Northfield Public Schools each day. They are a key financial partner and, most importantly, a critical friend who helps catalyze change with a focus on student outcomes.
Northfield High School career speaker series
Northfield High School’s career speaker series hosts professionals from industries the students have expressed interest in. Participating students have heard from professionals in construction, prosthetics, history, finance, elder care, recreation, counseling, politics, HVAC, and photography. Most recently, they learned about careers in corrections, which included two K9 workers. Thanks to all of the professionals who are taking the time to share their careers with our NHS students and thank you to NHS special education teacher Jake Odell for organizing the speaker series during the high school’s flex time.
I have previously shared information about the need for the district to reduce its expenditures (Update Nos. 16, 17, 20, 22, and 24) by approximately $4.5 million over the next two years due to chronic state underfunding and projected declining enrollment. The budget prioritization teams have finished their work and a budget plan, including recommended program reductions, is being finalized. Below are next steps in the decision-making timeline associated with the budget process:
- Thursday, April 21: The school board packet containing the preliminary program reductions will be published on the district’s website by 5 pm.
- Monday, April 25: The school board will review and consider the preliminary program reductions at their regular board meeting. The board will not vote about any program reductions at this meeting.
- Tuesday, May 3: A community open forum will be held at Northfield Middle School, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. This forum will include a presentation about the prioritization process and proposed reductions, an opportunity to meet in groups with school board members and district administrators, and an opportunity to participate in a public comment segment about the proposed budget reductions.
- Monday, May 9: The school board will finalize and approve program reductions at their regular school board meeting.
School board meeting update
The school board held a regular board meeting on April 11. The board packet & table file are located on our website. The board approved the consent agenda, and the district’s request to solicit bids for the district-wide security camera upgrade project. A video of the regular board meeting is available on our website and you can listen to my recap of the meeting on KYMN radio.
Again, thank you for your ongoing partnership with us. It is valued and appreciated.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools