Superintendent's Corner

May 2019

Dear School Community,

            Recently, I enjoyed reading an article about Peter Tabichi and the challenges he faces in teaching science to high school students in a small Kenyan village.   He was awarded the 2019 Global Teacher Award given by the Varkey Foundation to the best teacher in the world.   He has limited resources (1 working computer), his students come from extremely poor families (95%), and he has a 58:1 student-teacher ratio.  Yet, according to the press release announcing his selection over 10,000 other candidates, enrollment has doubled in his impoverished school, discipline issues dropped from 30 per week to 3, and roughly half of his students in 2018 continued their education in a university or college.   Why is he so successful?   This is what he said upon winning the best teacher in the world award, “Seeing my learners grow in knowledge, skill, and confidence is my greatest joy in teaching.  When they become resilient, creative and productive in the society, I get a lot of satisfaction for I act as their greatest destiny enabler and key that unlocks their potential in the most exciting manner.” 

            I have a strong belief our school district is thriving because we prioritize the needs of all students.  I invite you attend our twice monthly school board meetings on the second and fourth Monday at 7:00 p.m.  You will be encouraged that every meeting celebrates the awesome accomplishments of our students and prioritizes how we can improve student achievement. Thus, similar to that small school in Kenya, North Branch Area Schools continues to see an increase in student enrollment which has enabled our Board of Education to make significant investments in our curriculum, technology, and facilities.   In addition, we have very few discipline issues and we provide a quality education for all children at all levels.  The support of our community has allowed us to focus on teaching and learning in North Branch Area Schools and we are exceedingly grateful.  

            I truly believe our district’s greatest asset is our dedicated and committed school employees and specifically our teachers.   Quite simply, our team of professionals (teachers support staff, and administrators) love working with your children.  We get to be part of an amazing learning process on a daily basis.  We are mindful of creating a positive and safe environment where 2,355 children can come to school to learn.   Three years ago, we adopted an “All In” theme to remind us students will always come first in this district.  We work tirelessly to provide a rigorous education for all students, and our primary goal is to educate all children so they can become lifelong learners and productive citizens.  

As we near the conclusion of another successful school year, we look forward to the Class of 2019 graduation on Wednesday, May 29 at 8:00 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.  Kelley Hutchins Young (Class of 2005) will return to North Branch to deliver the keynote address.   She currently teaches chemistry to freshmen level pre-medical and science major students at the University of Notre Dame.  Kelley’s success at such a young age is in part to the excellent education she received from North Branch Area Schools.   The Class of 2019 has represented our school district and community exceedingly well and I appreciate Kelley returning to share some of her experiences with them.  

On behalf of all NBAS employees, thank you for your continued support which allows us to do our jobs of educating your children.


Best wishes for an enjoyable summer,

Jim Fish

North Branch Superintendent