Welcome to the New Year

Dear District Families,

Welcome to the new school year. I am very excited about the year ahead. We have an especially talented crop of over 25 new educators joining us this year, many of whom come with rich prior experience. This includes our new Secondary Principal, Joanne Menard, our new Assistant Principal Tom Gaffigan, and new to the role of dean of students, Mike Duprey. We are also happy to have a second dean of students join us this year, Rebel McKinley and another new position, our Family Engagement Coordinator, Stacey Langknecht.

Across the district this year we will be emphasizing the theme of relationship building in our communication, training, and improvement initiatives. While all of the new 3 Rs; rigor, relevance, and relationships are cornerstones of work, relationship work feels most pressing for us this year. Having a relationship focus will help us all recognize that all learning occurs in a social and interpersonal context, where the strongest learning occurs where students feel safe, supported, and connected to their peers and their teachers. Students, staff, and families have all been telling us that they would like us to take it to the next level, so to speak, in providing welcoming and inclusive school climates, safe and supportive classrooms, and individual relationships characterized by care and encouragement. 

By establishing strong teacher-student relationships we will be able to better meet students’ social and emotional learning needs, address issues of inequity, and embrace diversity. This relationship work will also pay off in terms of successfully engaging our students in relevant tasks and guiding them to achieve at the level of rigor our ever changing world demands.

Our staff feels energized to engage in this work because it speaks directly to why they became educators. In the days ahead I will share more about the initiatives we are engaged in to make relationships job 1. And across the district we will be looking for ways to be better partners with you in building these relationships. So, off we go.

Happy New Year,

Michael Sullivan