I want to welcome you to the web site for ISD 2364, the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa school district, or "BBE". We have a cradle-to-career-to-retirement district with over 600 K-12 students spread across two schools and over 4000 residents in the district. We have district residents who live in Stearns, Pope, Swift and Kandiyohi counties. If you are a resident in our district, you are BBE!
We are located about 100 miles NW of the Twin Cities metro area. Our district is mostly on the western edge of the large and populous Stearns County in central Minnesota. We sit at the source of the expansive Crow River Watershed that feeds much of the waters of our region. We host a rich agricultural economy bolstered by some of the earliest use of commercial irrigation. We label ourselves the Bonanza Valley because of these practices. We also have a strong and vibrant manufacturing base in our school district with over 600 people employed in our district in this career cluster. We value our agriculture and manufacturing roots so highly that this has a tremendous impact on our curriculum throughout the district.
The three cities form the backdrop of an area settled in the late 1800's by German and Norwegian settlers. Demographically, we do lack the diversity of some of our larger neighbors, but are bolstered by a significant infusion of migrant workers during the summer months.
Brooten hosts our birth through 6th Grade facility and Belgrade hosts our 7th through 12th grades. Our students boast many accomplishments in the academics, fine arts and interscholastic activities. Our district consistently performs significantly above state average in Reading and Math and around state average in Science. We have a graduation rate that is consistently in the mid-90%'s. We are one of only 8 schools in Minnesota on the 4-Day school week and generally, we love it! The 4 Day Week has had no negative effect on achievement, but has helped our district fiscally and has been a great solution for our 388 square mile school district.
The benefits of going to a small school such as BBE can definitely outweigh some of the advantages of a larger school that may have more options. Having said that, we do have great options. We boast a number of college options taught right in the high school building connected to Ridgewater and Central Lakes colleges. We have a great Work Experience program that connects students to local industry. Our students are supported by over 70 Dollars for Scholars scholarships for our senior class. So, despite our smaller size, we use this as an advantage to know our students and to gain the flexibility to address personal needs.
We were given a $25,000 Bush School Redesign to promote this personalized learning in the district. We are continuing with that pilot this year in the high school and hope to continue our rise as a key academic leader in providing a 21st century school predicated on creativity, collaborative, critical thinking and communication. Our students are 1-1 with technology in all grades. Our motto for this initiative is “Up Close and Personal” as we know that the only way to help our individual students in the best manner is to know them and customize our educational approach to be both personal and individually responsive.
Our elementary school in Brooten is quite a place, as well. In addition to the 1:1 technology initiative and high test scores, we also have built major supports with Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) and Response to Intervention (RtI). These programs allows us to maximize the child’s future and add to the successful portrait you see in the district. Our Jaguar Kids Connection (JKC) is a 4-Star Parent-Aware rated educational program that runs 12 months a year and provides infant to school-age education. We cooperate with the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council to bring migrant education programs to the district. Overall, this is an impressive commitment by our School Board and Community Education program to create the full realm of education for all residents from womb to tomb.
Thus far, I can tell you that all the things you've heard about BBE are true. Our Jaguar Pride initiative (check out the link to this) is maturing into a mindset and character that shapes our school culture in every way. We have a very personable, dedicated and innovative staff. Our students are incredibly kind and respectful at home, in their community and in competition. Our communities form a network of great support for our students and district. You can literally feel this human presence when you step foot into our district. You will see visible passion, bold commitment and excellence.
For everyone returning to school this Fall, congratulations and welcome back! Collectively, you have created all of the things I am speaking about. You have created the bonds with each other and to the district that people on our outskirts envy. You have built the foundation that we hope to improve by small increments every day. You have postured our district to get even better on a continual basis. Thank you for your efforts!
If you are considering enrollment at BBE, I think you'd make a fine choice. When making this decision as a family this summer, we chose to bring our children to BBE, as well. The education is very solid; the buildings and finances are kept in great shape by our staff and School Board. Our community participates in our education and our students participate in our community.
If you have any questions regarding BBE and its’ programs or potential enrollment, always feel free to step up and talk to me in public or contact me directly, preferably via email. I look forward to the 2018-19 school year. All in all, our staff is going to have an attitude of, “Every student. Every day. Any way.” This is our guarantee!
Patrick Walsh, Superintendent