Community Opinion

A Super’s Take on Education

Growth and Improvement
The Langdon Area School District is diligently working at implementing the cycle of continuous improvement. We provide professional development for our staff through our involvement in the Northeast Education Services Cooperative, bringing in experts and conducting locally lead sessions. Our teachers and administrators are very committed to the growth model to ensure we are making progress towards the best possible education for all our students.

By Daren Christianson
Langdon Area School

We have implemented a new math curriculum in our elementary school, and its effectiveness has been proven in our standardized assessments showing significant growth of our students in relation to percentile rank. Percentile rank is a comparison ranking among all that have taken the standardized test. For instance, if a student’s percentile rank is 51 that would mean 50% of those who took the test would have score lower and 49% of those who took the test would have scored higher. Percentile rank gives us the ability to compare growth for each student in their grade level group, and it is exciting to see this ranking grow. We are working diligently in our language arts area to ensure that all our students are reading at grade level. We are seeing great growth in words per minute read and in comprehension ability in the students we have identified as below grade level. We have seen more than a years’ worth of growth in some of our students’ assessment data already since the start of the school year. This is showing the effectiveness of the program, the skill of the instructors and the hard work of our students.
The Langdon Area School Board and I are studying the long-term viability of our school buildings and structures. Prior to my tenure here at Langdon Area Schools, the school district sent out a survey to the community concerning the possibility of building an addition on the high school to house the elementary school. At that time, the consensus was to not pursue building. Since that time the district has invested in our current buildings with an emphasis on the elementary building. We currently have two classes for each grade level in our elementary building, and things are working. We do have some concern over physical education (PE) concerning gym space and scheduling as that space is also used to serve lunch. The plan for next year is to bus the elementary students grade 3-6 to the high school for PE allowing K-2 PE to have more flexibility and access to the elementary facility.
Because of our aging buildings and need to make improvements, we have entered into a no-risk agreement with a company named CTS Group and have had them come in and do a preliminary assessment of our properties. This group specializes in Comprehensive Energy & Environmental Planning Services for North Dakota Public Owned facilities. CTS Group has worked with several schools in North Dakota and has found ways to make their buildings more efficient and the environments in the buildings more effective. We will be receiving recommendations and an estimated price tag. We currently have a building fund of 3 Mills that produces approximately $100,000 each year. Depending on the recommendations and the financing required for the projects, the board may feel a necessity for a public vote to increase in the building fund. Older buildings like we currently have do require upkeep and, at times, an overhaul. The good news is that the buildings have been well-kept and are structurally solid. Public meetings and conversations will be held before any type of vote is requested, and I welcome any calls or questions.
The Langdon Area School Board has appointed Steve Olson to fulfill the open position on the board until the June election.