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Friday, September 17, 2010

So Far, So Good

The first full week of school is history now, and we are moving forward.

The school board sponsored a "Meet and Greet" event last night to introduce me as the new superintendent. The meeting allowed me to acquaint myself with several members of the community. There were insightful questions and an interactive dialogue. I'm grateful for the opportunity to engage with community members and learn about the issues and concerns they have about the operation of the school and the direction for the school district.

I've learned quite a bit since the opening day. I've spent as much time as possible out of the office so I can look, listen, and learn everything I can about our school. First, I have found that the climate, or the culture of the school, is inviting and accommodating. The learners are cordial and vibrant. The staff is dedicated and cooperative. The community has high hopes and expectations for the school system.

I've enjoyed greeting the kids as they enter school each morning, exchanging smiles and encouragement. I have also been at the front of the building as they exit each afternoon to gauge how many leave with smiles at the end of day. During each of these daily experiences I've been able to meet parents as they drop off or pick up their children. It's a reminder of how important relationships are in any school, especially a small, single building school district.

I'm learning more names each day. I'm feeling more comfortable in my new role each day. It all adds up to reaffirm my interest and commitment to the district.

The teachers have been impressive in and out of the classroom, particularly as evidenced by their voluntary participation in several different committees that all share a common goal of improving our school. They are more than ably supported by a cadre of teaching assistants who display an active role as members of our instructional team. The custodial staff, although a person short of being fully staffed, has been hard working and responsive. The kitchen and cafeteria workers appear to exhibit the same level of responsibility serving the needs of hundreds of children at school as they would when serving their own sons and daughters at the dinner table at home. The office staff has been both versatile and dependable as they tend to the many varied communications and interactions that confront them each day. The treasurer and business manager have done a remarkable job of maintaining a conscientious and diligent attitude toward the important task of monitoring our funds and safeguarding the finances essential to compliance with state regulations.

Just this week I met with the Policy Committee charged with the responsibility of reviewing, revising, or initiating policies designed to support our progress through clarity of purpose, defining parameters, and constructive communication. I also met with the Instructional design Committee which examine sour teaching strategies to make sure we are operating effectively and efficiently in response to the instructional needs of our learners. I have previously conferred with the safe Schools Committee as they evaluated procedures and policies in the district intended to sustain a safe environment for all members of the school community. And, as I explained in a blog a few days ago, I participated in several different staff development exercises during the training sessions held last Tuesday afternoon. There has been a clear focus on organizing the resources within the school and directing them to leverage increased performance levels. It's been a hectic, but exciting, eight days of school so far.

It's an honor and privilege to serve this community.

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