SARTELL - This week, WJON is featuring several area superintendents to highlight their school district before the 2015-2016 school year kicks off.

Today, we highlight Jeff Schwiebert, superintendent of Sartell-St. Stephen schools. Schwiebert became superintendent last year. Here's a look at some of the topics for the district this year:

 

Rising Enrollment/Facilities Study

Sartell has seen its enrollment nearly double over the last 10 years. The district had around 2,000 students in 1999 and is now around the 3,800-4,000 student range. The district launched a facilities study earlier this year to look into future needs to accommodate the growing student population. Schwiebert says the district may decide to remodel facilities or add more buildings.

"Looking at what to do-to provide the quality environment necessary to provide a good education. We're very interested in hearing what the community has to think about that. Of course with tax dollars, everyone wonders what that's going to cost-that will be part of what we [discuss] in the fall."

The architects hired for the study are IIW Minnesota and the Cunningham Group, the same team working with potentially building a new Tech High School and updates to Apollo High School in St. Cloud.

 

Increasing Students World View

Heading into this school year, Schwiebert says a big goal the district has is expanding it's students world view.

"We need to make sure our kids are prepared for the fact that they're not going to live in Sartell their entire lives. It's a great larger world-but it's different than the one they live in here."

Schwiebert says speakers will be working with district staff so they can be ready to speak to students on things like culture, race and ethnicity.

 

Biggest Success and Biggest Challenge

After his first year in the district, Schwiebert says his biggest success and challenge has been meeting with and working together with the community.

"I needed to figure out who we are, not only in the school district but in the community and I have a lot more to learn but I feel like I've also made some inroads in that area."

 

Late Start Due to Labor Day

Sartell-St. Stephen will start classes late this year, thanks to Labor Day landing on September 7th. The district set its calendar before lawmakers gave school districts the option to start earlier this year. Sauk Rapids-Rice is also starting after Labor Day. St. Cloud Area Schools and the ROCORI District will both be starting before the holiday.

-On Friday we will feature Willie Jett and the St. Cloud Area school district-

 

Dan DeBaun, WJON