Dear School of the Osage Students, Families, and Community-
As you know, schools have always used a variety of ways to track student performance. Grade cards, attendance records, and behavior expectations are all traditional information that has been used to monitor and address student strengths, successes and struggles in academics. While these traditional methods are still the core of tracking student academic growth, the global pandemic has created new challenges, and we have come to understand that there is a need to also focus on student perseverance and resilience if we are to achieve our collective mission of preparing all learners for a lifetime of success. 
We know that it is more important than ever to identify barriers that cause some students to struggle academically, socially and emotionally. For this reason, last spring we began investigating tools and systems that could assist staff in the work of identifying and ensuring timely interventions were in place.  We landed on a data analytics tool from the Panorama company. The platform has been in place for a few months, and it works as intended. The dashboard tool provides a way to efficiently integrate all the various data points in one place within our own system to more effectively identify students who might need help. This allows us to help students by providing them the support they need in order to succeed in all aspects of their school life.
However, that said, we are mission driven, and that is not something to which the Board of Education and the administration merely pay lip service. Our mission says more than “prepare all learners for a lifetime of success.” It also says that our district is in a “partnership with students, families, and the community.”
At Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, two parents expressed concerns about Panorama’s data security features, the philosophy of the company, and potential of the system to unintentionally lead to the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a curriculum our district does not use. These parents made it clear that while they trust our district, they have significant concerns about the new student data system.
In light of our commitments to clarity and stability, the Board of Education and the administrative team have determined to stop the use of the Panorama platform and to seek an alternative tool. There are other systems that will allow us to track student growth, and we will seek out one that best fits the needs of our district. We have no intention of letting up on our mission now when students need us to stay consistent, stable, and focused more than ever. 
Staying Engaged
The School of the Osage District is successful for many reasons, one of which is assuring that families have a strong voice in the education of their children. There are numerous ways students, families, and community members can connect with the district.
A few notable means to stay engaged are as follows:
The Student Vision Council is currently made up of 11 Osage High School seniors who have met with me monthly since the spring of 2021 and provide a strong, reliable student voice. They will be presenting at the next School of the Osage Board of Education meeting on December 13.
The Osage Family Partnership has officers in each building, where they meet monthly with building administration and additional parents. All Osage Family Partnership groups come together with staff from around the district, typically including me, at our quarterly meetings, the next of which is tomorrow at 12:30 (see below for additional information).
The School of the Osage Board of Education spends countless hours on the work of the district. They are always looking for ways to advance the opportunities and traditions that make our district strong. Please note that filing for the Board of Education starts next week on December 7. Each year a different number of seats are on the ballot; this year there are two. If you are interested in running for the board, I encourage you to reach out to any of our current board members for more information. 
Finally, a reminder that there are going to be numerous holiday happenings around the district between now and the holiday break. Please visit our district website for details, dates and times.


  • School lunches are an important part of every school districts’ everyday operations – however, recent supply shortages have impacted the food service program. We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that kids are all fed, and fed nutritious foods that are the best tasting possible. It’s a challenge. It’s taxing on menu planning. Our Food Service is very dedicated and making an effort to keep our program successful.
  • Here is some exciting news regarding a grant award that will allow us to expand our afterschool childcare services: press release regarding 21st Century Learning Grant Award, etc.
  • Today the state released annual performance reports (APR) for all districts. Please click here for the FY21 School of the Osage APR Data Release
  • The OFP 5 Tribes meeting is scheduled for tomorrow-Thursday, December 2nd at 12:30 pm at the OHS Fieldhouse or via zoom. Click here on how to connect via zoom.
  • In the event of inclement weather, notifications will be sent to families via robocall, text message, on our school website and social media outlets, and local news stations. Click here for more information. 
  • The 41st Annual Holiday Bazaar will be held at the middle school gym this Saturday, December 4 from 9 am - 3 pm. Over 100 booths of homemade crafts & decor, jewelry, clothes and other specialty holiday items such as personalized ornaments. For more information click here.
  • The Upper Elementary OFP is partnering with Li'L Rizzos for the Take & Bake Pizza Fundraiser November 9 - December 3rd. Fifty percent of all proceeds will be donated to the UE OFP. Click here for more information.
  • Tuesday, January 4, 2022 is Community Night at OHS in conjunction with the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Many local business partners and supporters will have booths set up and will be onsite for you to view as you enter the high school boys basketball game - Osage vs. Camdenton, starting at 4:30 pm. Click here for more information. 
  • This past summer, 103 School of the Osage students, teachers, and staff members attempted to “Read Across America” as part of a Summer Reading Challenge.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day participants logged the number of pages they read with one page counting as one mile. The goal was to prevent summer slide for students who participated in the program and 52% of students showed growth on their Fall 21 iReady Reading diagnostic when compared to Spring 21 scores. Thank you to our sponsors at Big Surf, Target, Jolly Mon Indoor Water Park, Kwik Kar, Big-O, Salon C and Jetz Trampoline Park for partnering with us and providing prizes to our readers. Click here to read more about it. 
  • Osage Cares would like you to participate in the 2nd Quarter Wellness Challenge. Click here for more information on how to set an attainable personal wellness goal and work to achieve it!
  • Don’t forget that you can access our partners at the COMC clinic located next to the football field. Already the conveniently located clinic has been utilized by students, their families, and our staff for so many health issues, including immunizations, sports physicals, minor injuries, illnesses, and COVID testing and more. To make an appointment call 573-552-8852. 
  • For the up-to-date COVID dashboard, please click here. Please remember that one of the most important things you can do to help us is to keep your student at home if she or he is sick. Thank you so much for your willingness to help us with this challenge. 
  • Inquiring minds want to know the 2022 Homecoming schedule. The parade will be Monday, September 12, 2022 (location TBD), Varsity Football game Friday, September 16, 2022 (Osage vs. Eldon) and the high school dance will be Saturday, September 17, 2022. For event information, you can easily access by clicking here for the Osage Fan Plan. 
  • If you are in need of assistance of any type, please reach out- we have a variety of resources available and/or can connect you with other organizations. Contact us via our Indian Support Hotline at 573-552-8878 or [email protected].



Dr. Laura Nelson
[email protected] 
*Indian Support Hotline: 
573-552-8878 or [email protected]