Superintendent's Corner

Chasing Equity and Excellence in the era of MCAS

October 2018

 

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Educating our students is not a precise science. It requires a rigorous ongoing cycle of monitoring, reflection, and revision with an element of flexibility.  We need to account for the individual strengths and weaknesses of our students in each classroom district-wide.  The “success” of our work is consistently being discussed across our school community whether it be in assessment, department or at school committee meetings. Our District Focus Areas are the vehicle that directs and prioritizes this work.  I hope that you have had a chance to review the District Focus Areas and understand that this work sets the stage for optimal student growth.

Priority 1: We will deliver high quality core instruction for ALL students;

Priority 2: We will meet the needs of diverse learners;

Priority 3: We will increase access to rigorous, enriching opportunities for ALL of our students;

Priority 4: We will improve student learning experiences, in and out-of-school, by actively engaging families and community organizations as partners; and finally,

Priority 5: We will recruit, cultivate and retain SEBRSD teachers and leaders to stay in our district/family!

There is no one set of indicators or any one test like MCAS, for instance, that can accurately measure educational success. Moreover, there is not one teaching practice or protocol that meets the needs of all students sitting in our classrooms. Success in education today is complex.  It is complicated as it entails a number of areas detailed within our district vision statement including academic, social, emotional, and overall physical and mental wellness. The importance of developing and nurturing the individual domains with an equal sense of urgency should never be taken for granted. Attempting to focus on less than all of these domains will result in instability and vulnerability for our students which ultimately will inhibit overall student growth.  In essence, we need to focus our work on the needs of the “Whole Child” because we want our students to meet their full potential as individuals and citizens of the regional school district and the communities.

According to our district vision statement, “All students can and will learn when supported by a committed community, parents and highly qualified educators. SEBRSD students will develop intellectually, socially, physically, and creatively. They will graduate ‘college and career-ready’ fully prepared to become contributing members of the global society.”

Our educators are hyper-focused on the consistent individual growth of the students so that they are a “college and career ready!” This speaks to the importance of holding students accountable for what they are capable of and offering them the resources enabling them to grow exponentially throughout the year.

Analyzing and intentionally supporting individual student growth accounts for the ongoing success of the district. It continues to be the most complicated segment of our practice, as we work to identify and address the uniqueness of each student in a meaningful and equitable way. Each student’s growth plays significantly into the overall equation of excellence for our district. When we recognize and embrace the growth of individual students, we strengthen our “community of learners.” We are a community that does not settle for mediocrity. We are a community that believes each member of our student population adds to the overall success of our schools.  And all of us have articulated on more than one occasion that we want to improve. 

As you work with your children and guide them to be the best that they can be, please keep in mind that there are many facets of success, equity, and excellence. The growth of each student is a personal journey - it is as personal as their individual identity. Celebrate your child’s growth no matter how big or how small! Each incremental period of growth will be indicative of who they will become in this life.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to work with you and your children.

Sincerely Yours,

Paul S. Haughey, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District

 

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