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      Davis County students, staff prepared for challenges of new school year

      Tuesday was the first day back to school for students, teachers and staff in Davis County, a district that has always been about providing the very best education to every student. From top to bottom, that goal starts from day one.

      "We've got a tremendous staff who is dedicated and devoted to that and they're doing phenomenal work each and every day," said Dan Maeder, Superintendent of Davis County Schools. "They've already started. We've had teachers over the summer spending countless hours preparing for our kids to ensure that they have the absolute best opportunities and we'll just continue in that fashion."

      "This is my fourth year here and I felt so good this morning, knowing so many more names, it feels like, and getting into classrooms to see that everybody's really underway and doing super things," said Jennifer Donels, Principal at Davis County Elementary. "Lots of kids are really happy to be back at school and that's a good feeling, really makes our days easy and makes the general culture and atmosphere here really seem like a great place to be."

      This year, the elementary continues their focus on reading and math and the middle and high school teachers are looking into the core standards and focusing on content-based curriculums. Of course, a new school year means changes and in the Davis County School District, that means some new academic programs and standards. But for students, staff and teachers, it's a challenge they're more than prepared to handle.

      "Of course, this year we have taken on the everyday mathematics curriculum, as a resource we've taken that on," Donels said. "And it's new for us, it's going to be a very big challenge for teachers and interesting, different for parents as well, so we have a family night planned and some things in place to help us get started with that. But certainly some new learning that focuses on meeting the expectations of the core and certainly some new learning that will help us meet the 21st century skills that kids really need today."

      More changes come in the form of Iowa's Education Reform Bill, a piece of legislation that adopts several new standards and principals in Iowa's classrooms.

      "The new education reform bill, I think dissecting and getting through and understanding all the different components of that will be a bit of a challenge, but nothing that's insurmountable," Maeder said. "One of our other main focuses will be to implement the teacher leadership compensation plan here at Davis County, which we're really excited about that as well. So we do have a lot of work ahead of us, but no task is too tough for us and we're excited for the challenge."