Dear Manhattan School District Stakeholders,
Spring has officially sprung in Manhattan, Amsterdam and Churchill. The days are getting longer and everyone is feeling a little more energized. Manhattan Public Schools has experienced tremendous success in 2020-2021. The Tigers are state champions in football and state runner-up in boys’ basketball and boys and girls’ cross country. We finished top three in speech and top four in drama, not to mention three individual state champions. Oh, and did I mention that we have an individual state champion on the girls’ cross country team. That is quite a year and it is only March. Most certainly the greatest success of all is the fact that Manhattan Public School has been open for onsite in-person instruction since the very first day of school. Our students have been able to attend classes and participate in extracurricular activities in a safe and caring learning environment. Those students and families who opted for our synchronous remote learning platform have been able to stay connected with their teachers and classmates. We currently have less than 10 students K-12 accessing remote learning.
Lessons learned in the past year extend far beyond the classroom. Through knowledge-based decision making, which included community and staff input, the District’s leadership team learned that our students needed to be in school five days a week. The impact to the well-being and education of our students was significant. We were able to develop a “Back to School Plan,” again, with input from the community and from teachers, that allowed students and staff to safely return to school. Many families grappled with the decision to send their children back to school. Whether it was a medical, health, and/or safety concern related to COVID, concerns with wearing a face covering while at school, or concerns with the synchronous remote learning platform, each and every family had to make the decision that was best for their family and their students. We learned that any decision a family makes is the best decision for that family. We learned that some of the protocols and practices implemented because of COVID are more effective than past practices. We became more tech savvy. We also learned to be better communicators. Most importantly, we learned how much we missed our students last spring and how much we genuinely love our students.
Manhattan Public School is ramping up for a strong finish to the 2020-2021 school year and we are already planning ahead for the 2021-2022 school year. We are committed to community involvement, enhanced student achievement, technology integration, recruitment and retention of highly qualified staff, and maintaining state of the art facilities that are safe and inviting to our students, staff, parents and community. Manhattan Public Schools is committed to meeting the ever changing needs of our community, while maintaining the values and high standards that we hold so dear. As stakeholders, we all have a vested interest in the well-being and success of our students. Strong schools equal strong communities. With that in mind, Manhattan School District #3 is requesting a General Fund operating levy in the High School District to ensure we are able to fulfill our commitment to meeting the community’s educational expectations. Remember, bonds are for buildings and levies are for learning. Thank you for your support of the bond in 2016 that funded the building of our new facilities. The challenge now is to pay for the increased operational expenses. COVID funds are one time only funds that will be used to address the challenges related to the pandemic, such as impact to academic learning, teacher/paraprofessional training, proven strategies and resources to recover learning loss. COVID funds have allowed the District to meet the needs of students and staff during the pandemic, particularly in the area of technology. COVID funds will continue to be used to meet technology needs as we plan for the 2021-2022 school year.
Thank you for your continued support,
Brian K. Ayers