Being part of a school means celebrating its traditions.
Bob Tews, who has nearly four decades of memories in the Cedar Mountain School District, said he recognizes the fact that there are things the school, in conjunction with the community, does very well, and they have become a celebrated part of the Cougars culture.
Whether it is the annual Homecoming variety show or the celebration of the senior class during its graduation exercises, the activities, events and the people make Cedar Mountain what it was, is and is going to be.
Yet, Tews, who has served for nearly two decades as the Cedar Mountain superintendent, also recognizes for a school to succeed in its mission of preparing students for the world things need to change and new traditions need to be established. Balancing the two is the role of educational leadership.
As Cedar Mountain looks to its first day of the 2018-19 school year (Sept. 4), it will offer those celebrated events, but it will also offer new, updated and upgraded opportunities for students. This year the school has two new educators on its staff.
Those educators are Mike Menth, who is teaching social studies, and Joshua Severeid, who will be teaching elementary school music and technology.
Tews said the school is currently working on ways to make its sites safer for those who utilize it, adding it is working on a grant to help make those security improvements.
This year the school is offering a new school aged child care program, and Tews said the program is for students in Kindergarten through the fifth grade. It will be offered from 3:30-5 p.m.
“We believe this is something that is needed,” said Tews, adding he thinks the program will become a popular part of the school for families.
That was proven over the summer when the program was offered with more than 20 students getting involved.
Cedar Mountain is adding an in-house Dakota language program, which will be taught by Ryan Dixon. In the first year, a level one class will be offered, but Tews said there are plans to include a second level class next year if the program is considered a success.
According to Tews, Cedar Mountain continues to offer post-secondary education options for its students, and this year that list of classes will include a college-level art course.
Tews said students can easily earn 15-20 or more college credits while they are still in high school, adding one recent graduate left with 33 college credits.
“We want to help students customize their high-school education,” said Tews, adding the school has offered space in its media center for those students.
This year Cedar Mountain will be on its own for most of its sports, as its pairing agreement with the Comfrey School District has ended.
What that means, said Tews, is that a number of the younger students will have an opportunity to participate in athletics at a higher level.
However, he added, those student athletes will not be pushed into roles for which they are not ready.
“We want to make sure our kids are safe, and we do not want to set them up for failure,” said Tews.
The school is offering a work-based learning program through its agriculture education department.
Tews said this is a program that had been offered in the past, but it did not see the anticipated success. An adapted program will be offered, and Tews said he believes the partnerships that have been developed will provide positive experiences for the students who participate.
A new alert system has been implemented, and Tews emphasized it is important for families to make sure and get registered for that.
Tews is looking forward to the new school year and the opportunity for Cedar Mountain to help prepare students for the rest of their lives.
To learn more, visit the Cedar Mountain School District Web site at cms.mntm.org.