Dr. Dan Bittman
Elk River Area School District
MASA President 2021-22

As an MASA member, I am proud to serve with each and every one of you in order to provide a world-class education for our Minnesota learners, be a strong voice for public education, shape and influence our state and nation’s education agenda, and to empower others through high-quality professional learning, services and support.  Together, we have accomplished so much this past year and have kept our students, families and communities strong.  In addition to providing quality instructional programming, we have ensured our children are well fed, cared for, and have access to amazing staff and educational opportunities, providing love and stability for all learners. As we think about 2022 and our own programs and school districts, let’s continue to:

  1. Work to ensure no child goes hungry or worries about having a safe place to sleep.
  2. Demonstrate leadership throughout our communities by facilitating conversations, increasing awareness, and identifying ways to best support ALL students regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
  3. Increase opportunities for students to gain career and college readiness skills.
  4. Enhance collaboration with local businesses, nonprofits, city, and county partners in the areas of athletics/activities, facilities, programming, and strategic planning.
  5. Provide additional learning opportunities for students who prefer to learn and flourish most in person, online or in a system that provides a combination of both (i.e. blended learning).  
  6. Increase mental health support for our students and families to ensure each and every school building has dedicated personnel.
  7. Continue to partner with the Department of Health, Department of Education, and local public health officials on all pandemic-related events.
  8. Communicate and remain transparent with everything we do.
  9. Increase efforts to attract quality candidates and retain employees in all positions throughout the school district.
  10. Increase student voice when making decisions.
  11. Prioritize relationships and stay true to our core values, mission and vision statements.
  12. Work tirelessly to keep students and staff supported, onsite, and engaged.

This is the third school year impacted by the pandemic. We have learned so much, and continue to modify and adjust practices on a daily basis to support our students, families and staff.  While we pride ourselves on being proactive, having a dynamic strategic plan, and working collaboratively with our stakeholders, we will likely continue to struggle with labor shortages, the pandemic, and both rumors and inaccurate information on social media.  We also anticipate that the needs of our students will become even more intense.  

Let’s continue to learn with and from others, work tirelessly to bring people together, even when they disagree, serve as a place where all students and families feel welcomed, and commit to sorting through the distractions so we can focus our energy on doing good things for our students, families and communities.  I remain grateful for each of you, having committed colleagues willing to lead and set an example for others to follow, staff and administration that go above and beyond at all hours of the day, and for the wonderful things happening in each and every one of our schools and programs. We serve all people, regardless of age, need, or situation and we remain committed to doing it well!

I am hopeful that within 2022, the pandemic will become more manageable, and that all people will commit to kindness, seek to understand before responding, and that we can all continue to look for ways to meaningfully partner for the good of all.  

I am extremely grateful to serve in this role with each and every one of you and appreciate your continued trust and support.  I know these last few years have not been easy for anyone, but recognize that we will use the lessons we have learned and relationships we have built to ensure a bright future for all.  

Thank you for all that you do to make our world a better place. 

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