Looking Back…Moving Forward…

We are coming to the end of another school year and it is a good time to reflect.  While many great things are occurring in our classrooms everyday there is a shadow over the year from the uncertainty at the State level.  We are working hard to provide details to all stakeholders on the ramifications of a variety of actions by the borough and legislature.  I truly believe that our mayor, assembly and local legislators support public education and want what is best for all of our students.  They have difficult decisions to make that will impact the near and long-term future of our communities.  If a balance is not found we could face a deeper recession with no end in sight.  That is what is creating a very pessimistic atmosphere right now.  While there is no easy answers and everyone is looking for a perfect solution, it is time for decisions to be made.  Perfection is the enemy of progress.  As a district we have been through times of scarcity before.  Our response has been to focus on our students and staff even more through high quality support and partnership development.  While this time seems even more traumatic with much higher consequences, we do have some tools that have not been available to us in the past.  Technology has matured to the point that we can now provide opportunities to students they did not have even five years ago.  The University system is working hard to establish tighter partnerships with our schools to allow our staff to deliver college credit courses to our students.  We also have more business partnership opportunities available to us as we move from a testing culture to a personalization culture.

I have learned that it is not possible to communicate enough to stakeholders.  Everyone is busy and with all of the information bombarding us it is very difficult to focus on any one thing.  Our District is focused on one thing – student success.  To support that success we have committed to teacher learning and practice along with expanding opportunities for students inside and outside of the school day.  While funding is important, commitment, passion and creativity are also a large part of the equation to improve our system.  So, as our community continues to hear about the theme of personalization, think of it as a verb not the end goal.  Personalization is how we do business in the classroom and across the district.  It is not a program, simply a buzzword or just one more thing to do.  It is how we will reach every student every day to maximize their potential.  Students being prepared for their future and, as Michael Horn says, “positively contributing to a vibrant democracy” is the end goal.

It is my goal as we move forward, to communicate our progress on our ultimate end goal – student success for life.

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