Opinion

Grateful for all those who support our students | GUEST OPINION

During this holiday season, I would like to take a moment to share how grateful I am for our staff who are incredibly hard working, compassionate and dedicated to the success and well-being of all of our children; for a Board of Directors who cares deeply and gives so much of themselves to serve; and for a community who stands tall and wraps its arms around our most precious resource — the children.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melody Beattie

We have so much to be thankful for in our rich history and our great sense of community. These qualities are rare. “Making sense of our past” helps us to embrace the present and plan for tomorrow. We have been through some turbulent times, no doubt, but we have emerged stronger and more clearly focused on our core work of providing the very best educational system.

Our staff is working hard to manage the multitude of changes occurring in our system including new standards (Common Core State Standards & Next Generation Science Standards), new assessment system (Smarter Balanced Assessment), new instructional framework (Danielson Instructional Framework), new evaluation system (Teacher & Principal Evaluation Legislation), to name a few. There have never been so many significant reforms occurring simultaneously in public education. Our staff has been so positive and so professional throughout these trying times. I am very proud and grateful in the progress we are making.

The way in which we tackle these challenges is working through our foundation of high performing teams across the organization. We have embraced professional learning communities as the vehicle to ensure that we are working together to achieve at high standards. This year, we have further defined the elements of high performing teams and how to measure our progress. There are nine elements organized into four areas:  Team Leadership and Team Skills, Purpose and Process, Team Relationships, and Measures and Outcomes. I am so impressed with the conversations occurring across the system. We are working smarter, supporting one another and seeing great results.

We have much to celebrate. In the past six years, we have made significant progress in all four of our areas of focus:  Student Achievement, Safe/Caring Environment, Stewardship and Continuous Improvement. We have significantly improved our financial status, shown great gains in student achievement across the system, shown a dramatic improvement in graduation rates, and have received numerous recognitions from the State for the progress our schools are showing.

Thank you to our community for their steadfast support. Thank you to our Board for their vision and dedication. A special thank you to our staff — our TEAM.

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

John F. Kennedy

Thank you. Wishing this great community a wonderful Holiday Season.

Please join us for the Sixth Annual State of the District Address on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, beginning at 6 p.m., at President’s Elementary School.

Dr. Kristine McDuffy is the Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools and can be reached at 360-618-6202 or via email at kmcduffy@asd.wednet.edu.

 

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