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Editorial: Parents, students: Plan ahead and the payoff should follow

Year after year the academic news out of the River Falls School District is very good if not excellent. Yet each year the recognition must be earned by the diligence and commitment of parents, students, teachers and staff.

Our school administrators never seem to gloat or rest on the district's laurels. They know there will always be some students who struggle to achieve, and they know that each school year brings a new set of challenges for the entire student body.

The latest very good news are college entrance exams commonly taken in the Midwest called ACTs. With each graduating class, local ACT scores vary each year, but they are always above the national and state averages, and at or near the top among western Wisconsin schools.

This year was no exception. Only the Hudson School District had a higher composite score than River Falls, though River Falls was higher than Hudson in two categories. The other area school districts follow these two top-performing districts.

For River Falls parents who hope their children will advance to college or some form of post-secondary education, the ACT results show the local district offers a sound educational platform to make that wish come true. For out-of-district parents shopping around to open enroll their children, testing data simply has to make the River Falls School District a tempting choice.

High School Principal Elaine Baumann stresses that, with the ACTs, class planning is everything. The idea is to take as many core subjects in English, math and science throughout the four high school years. Planning for that begins toward the end of middle school.

Interestingly, Baumann told the Journal last week that core-class mastery has a spillover effect, saying: "There are many non-core classes where students apply the content learned in the core classes. These classes can be any class where students need to write, read, synthesize or compute. Classes like social studies, career and technical classes, and fine arts can be very beneficial when (students) apply skills taught in core classes."

Parents and local citizens can be reassured about the tradition of educational opportunities that the River Falls School District offers. Now that the 2012-13 school year is underway, the work starts all over.

Online Poll: Politics hardly riveting

The Journal's online poll question this week asked: Are you, will you, pay attention to the national political conventions? Early results:

--NO, totally ignoring them, 33.3%

--Occasionally checking on both, 33.3%

--YES, but only the Republican, 26.7%

--YES, following both very closely, 6.7%

--YES, but only the Democratic, 0%

Add your vote by going to