Sunday, September 10, 2017

What Wonder Looks Like

A Solid First Week: I want to personally thank all of you for a very solid first week of school. You were very patient while we got bus runs under control, no one passed a stopped school bus with it's red flashers on, many of you attended the open houses that we had last week, and you sent your children to school with positive attitudes. I cannot ask for much more than that.

What I can return to you are some great pictures from the first few days of school in the short video above. Contrary to popular belief, most students want to be back at school. It is where their friends are, there are clubs, events, and activities to participate in; and the feeling in the buildings is just so positive that everyone wants to be a part of it.

What about our kindergartners? They have never been to school, don't know anyone, and are leaving home for the first time. By and large, they had a great week. I did see a few tears on opening day (both students and adults) which is completely normal, but by Friday it was as if they had been here a month already!

Each year I go to every classroom to say hello, and to find out if we have any new students and where they are from. The winners of the "came the farthest distance" award are a brother and sister who have relocated here from Puerto Rico! We also had a set of triplets start Kindergarten with us. How cool is that?

I am trying to figure out how to get a "GoPro" or some other camera for a day so you can see what I see when I visit the schools. The sights and sounds are awesome, fun, and powerful.

By the end of the week, I hope to have all of our systems running as they will for the rest of the school year. We are then "off to the races" as I like to say.

Feedback is Important: This is my tenth year as your superintendent, and while I can point to statistic after statistic to measure our success, I think it is equally important to get your feedback. I have always felt that it is quite arrogant for long-term leaders to just assume that because they are "still there" after a bunch of years, that there is no room for improvement.

I want to know from you what we are doing well, and maybe some areas where you think we can improve. I also want you to feel free to comment without thinking that I am going to know what you wrote.

To that end, we have contracted with an organization called Thought Exchange, and they are going to help us through a feedback cycle a little later this fall. I will be sure to give you all of the directions when the time comes, but I would appreciate your honest and complete feedback. It's the only way we (and I) get better, and I want to be assured that my next ten years are as good as the first ten. Thank you in advance.

A Time of Reflection: Today is September 11. Most of our students were not alive in 2001, but we certainly were; and many of us were old enough to experience a wide range of emotions that day. Some of us know people who died.

Take a moment today to reflect and appreciate life. On that awful day, 2,977 people had no idea they would be waking up for the last time. The victims, their families, and the heroes who tried to save them deserve a moment of our undivided attention.

Thanks again and have a great week.