Focus On Excellence – Welcome to Another Great School Year!
Welcome to the 2016/17 school year! It was 100 years ago, on July 29, 1916, that the vote was held to consolidate several rural school districts into what is now the Waukee Community School District. 187 men voted in that election. Do you think any of them could have imagined what Waukee Schools would look like today?
Change has been a constant theme in Waukee for the past two decades, after nearly 80 years of what could best be described as a typical rural Iowa school district that was predictable and wonderful at providing a quality education and services to the community. As we enter the new school year, much will be the same: a strong educational program for students; teachers committed to our children, challenging every one to be the best they can be; a community that supports our schools. Like many of the previous 20 years, much will be new and exciting in Waukee Schools.
We welcome two individuals to new principal positions in our district. Cary Justman takes over as principal at Waukee High School. Cary most recently served as principal at Dallas Center-Grimes. Katie Ferguson takes on the role of principal at the new Grant Ragan Elementary. Katie has been an assistant principal in several Waukee elementary buildings in recent years. Cindi McDonald will assume the superintendent reigns in December and Kirk Johnson and Terry Hurlburt have left their respective principal positions to take on the roles of associate superintendents.
The new Grant Ragan Elementary is complete and ready to welcome students. It is a beautiful, modern facility that the community can take great pride in. Grant Ragan marks the 5th time we have built the same elementary facility in the district. Shuler, Maple Grove, Waukee and Woodland Hills Elementary are all the same design. We simply “tweak” each new building with some different finishes. This has saved the district hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 8 years, both in architect fees and change orders.
We will also be opening the new Waukee Innovation and Learning Center (WILC) in early October to support our APEX programming for juniors and seniors, as well as a new transportation and operations facility sometime in December or January.
In addition, we have hired 59 new teachers to the district. Thirty-four of these teaching positions are in response to the rapid student enrollment growth that we continue to experience and are new/added positions that did not exist last year.
This past May, we graduated 549 seniors. We are anticipating approximately 840 Kindergarten students. We plan to break ground on another new elementary school in February on the west side of Alice’s Road, city of Urbandale (across from the water tower), to open in the fall of 2019. And of course, the planning process for a second high school will kick into full gear throughout this school year.
Look for periodic celebrations and updates around the 100-year anniversary of the district throughout the school year. You can follow these events and historical reminiscing on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WaukeeCSD and also on our Twitter account @WaukeeCSD and the hashtag #WaukeeCSD100yrs.
So welcome to the new school year! Please be patient these first few weeks of school as bus routes stabilize and driving patterns develop. We are adding over 1,000 new/different students to our bus routes, as well as some completely new routes to best serve our families. There is still a lot of road construction and closures to navigate.
We are excited to once again fill out hallways and classrooms with students eager to learn and grow!
Waukee Schools – a place to learn, a place to thrive. Welcome to another great school year!