This morning’s kickoff meeting was wonderful. I am energized each year by the creativity, work ethic, and commitment of all of our schools. As I shared, we are making differences in the legacy and future of the students we serve. As we seek to serve them, we too are learning, growing, evolving, and improving our ability to find success for every student. Taking this approach is not easy, but it is right. Every great achievement and improvement made by the human race started with someone taking a risk to make things better. If we believe that we have the people and desire to make education better, and we own it, and we are committed, then we should make it happen.
Even though there are many external factors that may seem to be stacked against public education, I believe that public education is the great equalizer. Our challenge is to not feel boxed in by external forces, legislation that seems less than supportive, or fear of the unknown. We must be willing to dream big, to take appropriate risks, and to re-imagine what education could or should be.
Like any change process, there will be resistance and naysayers who know what school was like when they were a student. When we have setbacks, the question will be, “how will we face them?” It is said that you can measure a person by the problems they tackle. Barbara de Angelis says, “We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
The great news is that each of us has one another as support. I am proud to have the privilege to serve each of your schools and I want you all to know that we are doing amazing things. From our three elementary specialized choice programs, to our STEM middle school, to Conover School’s focus on independence and success for each student, to our two high school options which have been so successful- we are giving our students and their families quality options to prepare our graduates for career, college, and citizenship. Our record graduation rates, scholarship dollars earned, academic successes, and extra-curricular accomplishments speak volumes about your commitment.