Principal’s Corner: Literacy a district-wide goal in Albert Lea

Published 8:00 pm Friday, November 6, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Principal’s Corner by Chris Dibble


The students and staff of Albert Lea Area Schools have been working through some great learning opportunities for the 2020-21 school year. Our students have made strides in utilization of new learning technologies and have lived through an era that will certainly go down in history as unique, life-changing and memorable. This is especially true for middle school students at Southwest. Students have continued to impress teachers with their work ethic and ability to adapt to environments that often change daily.

Chris Dibble

Email newsletter signup

With the 2020 elections in the rear view mirror, our next big project at Southwest Middle School began this week, when every student and staff member received a copy of the book “Sticks and Stones” by Minnesota author Abby Cooper. Using money from a literary grant, students and staff get to keep a copy of the book that will be read by all Southwest community members prior to winter break. As a special treat, the grant also paid to have Abby join Southwest once the book was read. Due to the pandemic, Abby will instead work with us throughout the read in a series of live, virtual sessions. Abby also joined us for the kick-off in a recorded Zoom session.

Literacy is not only a goal for all students in the district, it is a skill that is crucial in students being successful no matter what path they choose for themselves later in life. This type of project not only exposes students to quality literature that will build reading skills, but also demonstrates how reading can be a fun and social activity. We think of this project as a big book club involving over 500 of our middle school students and staff.

As we work through the “Sticks and Stones” reading project, updates will be highlighted on the Southwest Middle School Twitter @SWMSAlbertLea and using the new Southwest Middle School YouTube Channel at We also have a new video series called “The Southwest Spotlight” that highlights something happening in the school each week. There are currently three videos available and new editions arrive each Friday morning.

Chris Dibble is the principal of Southwest Middle School.