Sartell’s schools are excellent. Their reputation and achievements are at the bedrock of Sartell community pride. This year, nine teachers from our small district are in the running for Minnesota Teacher of the Year, a tremendous feat. It is a gift for our children to be able to attend this district, and the debt we owe our educators will never be fully paid.
Schools do not succeed on inertia but require constant and professional efforts from our educators in order to remain successful. The steps and missteps of district-level action often do not impact learners until years and decades later.
As a parent of a young learner, I hope he receives from our district the best education possible throughout the duration of his K-12 experience. It is for this reason I’m sensitive to how close our district is to causing a fatal self-inflicted injury that will crater our district in the years to come. The death of a great district does not happen immediately.
Constant improvement and resolving perceived district shortcomings are normal and healthy parts of leading a district. However, tactics born out of bad faith and devoid of trust are not the way to achieve it. Without trust, nothing meaningful can be achieved.
The unwarranted and sustained level of criticism and outrage towards administration and faculty from our newly elected board members and a small vocal minority in our district has a cancerous effect. Actions and expressed positions by these groups both in meetings and on propagandistic social media pages are cultivating and sustaining a toxic environment.
If these issues are not abated, things will continue to slowly metastasize. Over time, talent within the district will continue to depart, retire or begin doing the bare minimum to collect their checks. Good luck replacing them as our reputation fades.
Why remain committed to a district where expertise isn’t valued while being under assault from unfair criticism based on the false presupposition that teachers are actively trying to harm kids?
I hope our board and community can resolve this before all our children’s education becomes the collateral damage.