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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Soaring in Flight

We received official word today that our achievement levels on state mandated assessments have risen to the point where we are no longer classified as a School In Need of Improvement. Two consecutive years of producing adequate yearly progress on the tests have elevated us to the state department of education's designation, School in Good Standing.

This rate of progress was the result of a cooperative effort of all members of the school learning community. It was not easy, but it was necessary. Every person, regardless of title, contributed in some manner to the overall performance of the learners. A clean and safe school environment promotes respect and pride. An effective food service program fulfills important physical needs of children, and so does the school nurse. An efficient team of secretaries increases productivity by organizing resources and supporting the needs of all members of the school community. A coherent instructional strategy exercised by dedicated teachers and teaching assistants stimulates growth opportunities for learners at all stages and ages, and so does a well planned staff development program. School leaders leverage success by employing data driven decisions focused on building capacity. In addition, the financial support of the community, and the leadership of the officials they elect as representatives, serve as a significant investment in the improvement process.

As difficult as it might have been to realize this progress, the real hard work remains ahead of us. We have to sustain our success and continue our commitment to reach our potential. The San Francisco Giants just won the World Series of major league baseball and you can bet that if they expect to repeat as victors next year they are already generating plans on how they can improve.

In what clearly serves as an interesting coincidence for me today, a couple of staff members alerted me to the presence of an American Bald Eagle within eye-sight of the school. It was my first sighting of a member of the pair of Bald Eagles who have taken up residence in the heights of a tree at the northern edge of the island that rests in the Hudson River a short distance behind the school. We are fortunate to have a panoramic view of the river and its surroundings.

The bird was perched at a spot offering a clear vantage point of the river and the fish that it relies on for food. It was a beautiful scene. This is not an entirely uncommon occurrence for those who have been in the school a while, but for me it was my initial experience - and noteworthy on the same day our test performance has taken flight. Our national bird is often characterized by its boldness, soaring flights, and power.

Perhaps we can evidence the same features by pursuing bold goals, soaring toward success, and generating powerful learning opportunities.

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