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Academic and Social Growth for ALL Students, Every Day!
About Us » Superintendent's Message

Superintendent's Message

Greetings all!

This month, I’m thrilled to tell you about our students’ excellent progress as well as what we’re doing to address our space needs. I’ll also introduce you to our new high school principal.


  • Southwest students are growing academically: We learned this week that our value-added gains, which are measures of student progress, are “off the charts.” That means our state test results in reading and math from last spring were in the top 10 percent statewide and among the highest nationwide. Our value-added results came from the Northwest Evaluation Association, an educational services organization used by schools around the world. This accomplishment is a testament to the work of our parents and other caregivers and our teachers, support staff and principals. Every day, every minute counts!
  • Southwest students are growing socially: In today’s world, the negatives often get the attention. We’re trying to change that attitude by drawing attention to the good. So each week, I’ve been asking our employees to give me the names of students, staff and volunteers who are doing the little and big things to live our mission, Academic & Social Growth for ALL Students, Every Day!, and our core values, Trust, Respect, Ownership and Leadership. Each week, our staff has recommended people for me to recognize. This is so important to me that so far this school year, I’ve handwritten 1,250 “Getting It Done” cards, offering personal congratulations for outstanding efforts.


Modular Classrooms – Our Short-Term Solution: Work is continuing behind the scenes at the manufacturer on the modular classrooms that will be installed at Crosby Elementary and Harrison Junior schools. Production of the units will begin once the designs are finalized. It’s a complex project for the district because there are so many details for us to address ahead of time, including where the classrooms will be located and changes in arrival-dismissal patterns. Once we approve the designs, we’ll solicit bids for public utility work so we’re prepared for installation as soon as school is out. Installation will take place during the break to avoid disruptions and distractions at the schools. Our goal is to have the modular classrooms – a short-term solution to our space needs -- ready before students arrive in the fall.


Enrollment Continues to Soar: As we address enrollment growth, the need for even more space continues to grow. Since July, the district has enrolled 386 students. To put that into perspective, we will graduate 260 students in May. That means, we’ve grown by more than an entire graduating class in the last eight months.


Master Facilities Planning – Our Long-Term Solution: Hundreds of people have been involved in the master planning process since we launched our new approach to dealing with inadequate facilities three months ago. It’s reassuring to know that so many people are so committed to planning our district’s future, even those who offer contrasting opinions. They have attended our three Town Hall meetings, responded to our facilities phone survey and participated on our community engagement teams. Some provided dozens of hours of their time. At the April 20 Board of Education meeting, the goal is for the board to select one Facilities Master Plan to present to the voters in November. The meeting will be held at 7 pm in the Junior School cafeteria. Lots of information can be found on our website about our facilities planning and community engagement process:


Southwest Podcast: Introducing Our New High School PrincipalThis month, we’re featuring an interview with Matthew Lindley, who will become principal of Harrison High School next school year. He’s had great success building relationships with students, teachers and the community during his career in education. He says on our podcast that those relationships are keys to achieving the goals of the high school and district. You can listen to the podcast, which also provides updates on facilities planning and the busy spring calendar, here:


As always, please let me know if you have comments or questions.


John C. Hamstra


Southwest Local Schools