Fort Dodge Community School District

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District Blog: A Time to be Thankful

November 23, 2015

By: Dr. Doug Van Zyl, Superintendent

Happy Thanksgiving! As the superintendent of the Fort Dodge Community School District I wanted to take a few moments to reflect and share what I am thankful for as I look at our school district and community. I have heard it said by a few people I have visited with over the years that there are times when they think that our school district is too big, our schools are too large or that we have too much diversity. I can tell you that each of these things along with many other things are some of the reasons I believe we need to be thankful.

Because of our size we are able to offer our students the widest range of opportunities and possibilities of any area school or school district.  The number and quality of courses we offer, the number of credits students can earn from ICCC and the number of extra-curricular athletic and fine art opportunities are directly related the size of our district and schools. Our kids have way more positive opportunities and possibilities at every school level at their disposal because of our size.

When we sit back and take a look at the makeup of our schools and community FDSCD is much more closely matched to the makeup of the world. We have diversity of socioeconomic levels, we have diversity in ethnic backgrounds and we have diversity in thoughts and beliefs on many topics.  What a great opportunity for our students by having the chance to learn and grow with others who are different from them.

This does not mean that at times we will not have struggles and challenges. This does not mean that things will always be easy. But what great things in life come to us easily or without us having to stretch ourselves to some level of discomfort? We may not always see it while we are in the middle of it, but if we truly step back and look at our lives we can see that the points in our lives when we had the greatest opportunities and at times when we faced challenges and struggles those were the times that shaped us into who we are. Those were the times that prepared us for what lay ahead. 

My own kids have had many more possibilities and opportunities in FDCSD then I ever did growing up. I can see how it has helped prepare them for their futures, which is what our mission as a school district is all about: To provide quality learning experiences and build relationships that develop productive citizens ready for their future. For the chance to provide ALL of our kids with these opportunities, I am truly thankful.

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