Op-Ed to Hillsboro Tribune
Friday, August 30, 2013
At our recent Safety Summit, the keynote speaker asked the crowd of District administrators, representatives from other local school districts, and law enforcement and emergency services personnel from a variety of agencies who in the audience was responsible for ensuring student safety. When just a small handful of people stood up, he asked the question again. This time, everyone in the room took to their feet.
Similarly, if I were to ask our community who is responsible for children’s education, perhaps initially just school staff would raise their hand. If I asked again and the full intention of the question was realized, my hope is that everyone would join them.
I have often stated that education is a team effort. Granted, our teachers, school support staff and principals are those most directly involved, but responsibilities lie with each and every one of us to create and support a dynamic, culturally-responsive, safe, comprehensive, engaging, high-quality educational system that prepares students for their future.
It’s worth noting that the sense of urgency to do the absolute best by every student and give them all the tools they’ll need to be able to make choices in life is felt throughout the system. The federal No Child Left Behind legislation of 2001 focused national attention on the fact that it is unacceptable to simply allow a certain percentage of our students to fail, especially knowing that a disproportionate number of those students are from underserved populations: racial and ethnic minorities, students living in poverty, and those whose first language is not English.
Questions that followed as an educational community were how to best realign our system and practices to ensure that all students are reaching their full potential, how to standardize efforts so they have common meaning from school to school and state to state, and how to be transparent and accountable—all in an environment of great demand and shrinking resources.
There have been many changes to the educational system over the past several years. Federal and state agencies and elected officials set regulations and pass laws in an attempt to affect positive change, track data, and respond to the needs of communities. Districts and schools maintain compliance with rules and regulations, set goals for student achievement, focus their efforts in high leverage areas, and stay as flexible and responsive to student needs as possible.
What does all of the above actually look like? Here are some examples:
These are just some of the many efforts under way in Hillsboro to continuously improve our educational delivery to students, ensure we have a highly effective staff, and communicate in a transparent manner with students and parents.
In just a few short days, we will welcome new kindergartners—the class of 2026!—as well as incoming seniors—the class of 2014—and all students in between. Every day provides us the opportunity to help them learn and grow, each in their own way, on their path to becoming successful, educated young adults with a variety of options available to them. I welcome and encourage all stakeholders—students, staff, parents, community members, business leaders, and higher education—to take ownership and pride in our District and help give our students the foundation they need for a bright future.