Thursday, August 30, 2012

Welcome to a new school year!

I am excited and eager to begin my first full year as superintendent of Watervliet schools.

Throughout the summer my leadership team and I have been preparing for the 2012-13 school year, and are looking forward to welcoming back students, teachers and staff and to again have our buildings bustling with teaching and learning.

During the summer, I received word from the State Education Department (SED) that the Watervliet City School District and our schools are in “good standing.” Earlier this year, the federal Education Department granted New York State a waiver to certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, and granted permission to calculate and communicate student progress differently. As a result of this newly implemented state accountability system and because of the hard work and collaboration of our teachers, support staff and the individualized instruction they provide, Watervliet’s students achieved adequate progress on state tests.

This is good news. Now, we must do all we can to move forward and maintain our “good standing” status, which could prove particularly challenging this year in light of significant changes in public education including the implementation of new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and a new evaluation system for teachers and principals.

With the new standards, SED will make changes to English language arts/literacy and math exams designed to assess student performance in grades 3-8. Also beginning this year, students’ scores on state assessments will be part of the teacher and principal annual professional performance review. The combination of these two factors will make state testing especially intense this year for both students and teachers.

State and federal regulations, unfunded mandates and increasing expectations continue to increase the challenges for our schools. We must all work together—parents, teachers, school leaders and staff—to support and prepare our students to be successful in college, career and in a competitive 21st century workplace.

I encourage parents, teachers, students, staff and the community to stay informed about our district’s challenges and our successes through the different communications channels we offer including our website, School News Notifier (SNN), Facebook and Twitter, and also WVLT, Watervliet Housing Authority's cable access channel. 

We must continue to rise to the challenge, and educate every student, every day to the very best of our ability. Welcome back everyone, let’s make this another great year!