This is the time of the year when we, as a culture, look back on our work and our lives and reflect. We would be remiss if we did not follow the same practice as we examine the work we have done this fall in the Fairfax R-3 School District. The amazing students, community, and staff of Fairfax have strong results to which they can point regarding the success of our district and the small-school model. The level of support our district enjoys from our community is constantly a source for pride with us and we work consistently to show our thankfulness through the education of our Fairfax students.
Each year we put the learning of our students to the test in our Missouri Assessment Program. Students take a battery of tests in English Language Arts (ELA), Math, Science, and Social Studies. Additionally, schools are held accountable by the state for attendance, graduation rate, college and career readiness, and subgroup achievement. This year, our Annual Performance Report (APR) indicated that our overall performance was a 98.6%. Fueling this high score were scores of 100% in ELA, Math, Science, Subgroup Achievement, College and Career Readiness, attendance, and graduation rate!
We can credit this success to our ability to teach with small groups of students, the expertise of our staff, the support of parents and our community, and the hard work of our students. We know, that all things being equal, hard work wins every time. In the case of our district, hard work has set us apart and above the expectations of the state and other schools of comparable size and demographics.
To further increase the ability of our staff to prepare our students to use the skills necessary for the 21st century, Fairfax R-3 is adopting the instructional practices in Project Lead the Way. This program encourages students to solve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) problems through experimentation with hands-on materials. Our teachers also spend time at least twice a month collaborating to design interventions for students who struggle to find academic success. Teachers band together to problem-solve and work as a team to ensure the students are able to get the tutoring, remediation, and resources they need to pass classes and persist to high school graduation.
Not only have we earned high marks academically, but the efforts of our athletes and coaches have yielded good results in the field and on the court. We enjoy shared athletics with Tarkio School District and that partnership provides opportunities for our students to participate in activities that otherwise we would not be able to offer. After qualifying in only one shoe, Zack Garrison went to state competition for Cross Country. Our East Atchison Wolves Football posted a 7-4 record with a 4th place district finish, Wolves Golf was undefeated in regular season play and took 2nd place at districts, Junior High Football was undefeated, and High School Volleyball posted a district championship and a 20-13 season!
Our partnership with Tarkio allows us to have the best of both worlds. We are able to maintain small class sizes and a strong sense of local identity while creating a successful partnership that benefits all of our students and stakeholders. Fairfax is a town with rich traditions and events that make this community special. Our district alumni can boast vets from every deployment including and since WWII. We commemorate our Paralympic Gold Medal winner, the alumni that still contribute a culture of excellence to our school, and we can continuously take pride in the character of our students.
Also, through the wise leadership of our Fairfax Board of Education, we have been able to improve our transportation fleet and make changes to our staff to meet the needs of our students. This fall the board approved the purchase of a new school bus, replacing a vehicle that was historically unreliable. Though many districts contract out bus service, Fairfax maintains our own fleet at a much lower expenditure amount than contracting would cost us. We are also restructuring personnel to incorporate a second, full-time custodian. This position has been created in a way that minimizing additional cost to the district while ensuring cleaning, deferred maintenance, and building supervision is done appropriately. Shrewd use of district resources and proper care of our facilities are two factors that contribute to the appropriate stewardship of the district.
The Fairfax R-3 School District is one that seems wrought from the high level of support and hard work of the Fairfax community. District staff is happy to be part of and serve such a great group of students. We are happy our collective success demonstrates our commitment to the future of this community and look forward to maintaining excellence for our stakeholders. On behalf of the staff at Fairfax R-3, I want to thank our community for its continued support and for allowing us to be such a large part of the Fairfax family.