Merger will bring new opportunities for students throughout the district.
Sponsored by: Williston Basin School District No. 7
A new school is always exciting for both students and teachers.
It’s a chance to regroup and improve the quality of educational opportunities in the community.
That’s exactly what happened for Williston-area students in August 2021, when the newly established Williston Basin School District (WBSD) No. 7 was formed, the result of a merger between Williams County School District No. 8 and Williston Public School District No. 1.
While still an ongoing process, the administration has worked hard to provide students with the tools they need to thrive and establish unity within the school system.
“I think we’re on the right track now,” says Interim Superintendent Lori Olson. “The strategic plan, the long-range plan — those are all going to put people’s minds at rest as to what we are doing for our kids.”
The district recently hired a new superintendent, Dr. Richard Faidley, who is eager to bring the strategic plan to life and further unify the two districts.
While blending the districts, including two boards and education philosophies, into one has been a big task, Olson says there are a lot of exciting changes coming to the district.
For example, in addition to a long-range facility plan, WBSD is developing its strategic plan, where a group of 45 community members, parents, students, teachers and administrators are coming together to create the district’s mission and vision.
Students will also benefit from the assets each district brought to the table during the merger.
“District 1 brought the systematic programming, and then I think District 8 brought the land value to merge them together so that we could get the best of both worlds for our kids,” Olson explains.
The now combined taxable land will allow the district to receive more money to further improve students’ educations.
Additionally, to promote unity among the district’s 13 schools, WBSD holds professional development days throughout the year, where teachers and administrators from different schools come together for training and to meet one another and build relationships across the district.
“We also have curriculum meetings, where the curriculum director meets with the teachers from all the schools. They work on curriculum together and discuss how they are teaching the kids and what they’re using to teach our kids,” Olson says.
“I think that middle level of administration has been very helpful in the reorganization and having everybody have a common goal.”