Overcrowded classrooms, outdated technology, new construction, old buildings, new curriculum, and online venue for the enduring issue of bullying are among the issues facing many school districts in 2014.
Growth and change at the Kalispell School District Five has been visible over the past 10-years with the creation and construction of a second high school.
The woman at the reins during these changes is District Five Superintendent Darlene Schottle who is retiring at the end of the school year.
Superintendent Darlene Schottle came on board in Kalispell in July of 2-thousand-3.
District 5 looked a little different then.
The five elementary schools were K-6, 7th grade had its own building, the junior high was 8th and 9th grades, and one big high school served 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.
Now, the in-town elementary schools are K through 5, the Junior High is a Middle School with 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, and Flathead High School went from among the biggest schools in the state to two 9 through 12 high schools; Flathead and Glacier.
Curriculum and the role of technology is one of the biggest changes Schottle says she’s seen.
“20 years ago we never would have thought about providing technology expertise and proficiency. We were much more concerned about students being able to have a knowledge base, a group of facts that they can draw upon, where in reality, now, that is not what we need them to have, because, quite frankly, you can find facts,” Schottle said.
Schottle said interpreting those facts is what students need to be able to do now; whether they’re true, appropriate, and how they figure into the bigger picture.
Building new space and maintain old buildings will continue to be an issue for the next Superintendent, as will the question of the role of technology in school and education, and implementing the common core curriculum.
“There’s a lot of changes that are happening right now, and I feel that it’s the right time to transition the leadership reins. That, whoever is making some of these changes right now in Kalispell with teachers, they need to have the longevity to do that for at least 3 to 5 years,” Schottle said.