Congratulations to the Class of 2015! I was honored to see another class of outstanding young adults complete their high school requirements and begin their post high school lives. Some are headed off to college, some to serve in our military and some going directly into the working world. And some went on to win the Boys’ Volleyball State Championship under Coach John Dube following graduation Saturday night.
Our hope is that each and every one of the Class of 2015 have benefited from our endeavors to improve the rigor and accountability of our school district over the past three years. The Class of 2015 were change agents…adding the balance of high achievement to an already compassionate school!
On the topic of rigor and accountability, I’d like to address summer work. Some people believe that students should rest over the summer months and not be burdened with any type of school work. Do you know why we have the very best musicians? Or why we have the very best wrestlers? It’s not because our musicians rest all summer long letting their musical instruments collect dust or because our wrestlers sit in front of the TV eating potato chips all summer; it’s because they continue to practice throughout the summer through school programs and camps. Why should it be any different for academics? Rigor and accountability means hard work…for EVERYONE, not just select groups or individuals. Our teachers work incredibly hard ALL summer preparing for the next school year. When everyone else is resting during the summer months, summer work will help us get ahead and improve. When I took this job back in 2012 one of the biggest concerns shared with me was the lack of district-wide rigor. Summer work is an excellent tool for improving this. Our teachers are asking for everybody’s support.
Another item I want to touch base on is student testing…which is also a component of rigor and accountability. Because we are basing our instruction on data-driven results, testing is required to determine those results. Data Driven instruction requires us to know exactly what we do well and what needs attention. Ultimately, these results will direct our decision making and instructional content and practices. We can’t improve unless we know where are weaknesses are and nail down the specific components in content areas. Best instructional practices are tailored to specific strategies to target weaknesses. It not as simple as some might think; it is complex and targeted.
Over the next few months I will be generating new goals for the 2015-16 for school board consideration and approval. One of those goals will be centered on binding the divided stakeholders. This is obviously not a one-person task; however, there are things that I can do to encourage unity amongst our communities whether it is budget-related or communication-related. I am open to consider ideas or suggestions from the community. I will have those GOALS ready for the Board very soon.
And speaking of community, I’d like to close with the remembrance of a wonder individual who loved and served his community well. Plaistow Police Chief Steve Savage passed away almost a year ago. He was a remarkable man who dedicated his life to the betterment of his community. He was personable, respected and admired. He was friend to many and is still sorely missed today.
I wish our students and staff members a great summer and I look forward to seeing you in the fall.
Thank you for your support!