Monday, September 17, 2012

Welcome Back!

With the first two weeks complete, students, families and staff have made it through the transition from summer vacation to the excitement and promise of a new school year. We begin a season of successes, challenges, change and growth, all against the backdrop of the ultimate goals of student achievement and social growth.

This is a year of great potential and certainly one of new experiences. As we welcome one of the largest groups of students to the elementary in decades, we also welcome eight staff members, stretching opportunities and facilities further. We thank our staff and maintenance crew for the many days of preparation and flexibility needed to help our resources meet the expanding need.

This year, you will also notice the local impacts of several State and Federal reform initiatives especially in the areas of curriculum and assessment. For better or worse, it is clear that much more is expected of our children at even younger ages. Within two years, all math and English-Language Arts curriculum will be rewritten to align with the Common Core State Standards and the newest version of testing accountability for students and schools will be in place. The adoption of Math Expressions is a visible result of changing expectations.

Families will soon see a public report of state testing results from last Fall’s WKCE. Performance expectations on the otherwise unchanged test have risen significantly which will certainly make nearly all schools in Wisconsin appear as though students have suddenly become less proficient. Data from the past will be remeasured with a different stick.

Each year brings change and challenges. Teachers, families, and students have always worked together to adapt and succeed. I would like to remind everyone that parents are teachers also! You are the first and most important teacher in your child’s life. The environment you provide for your child makes a critical difference. We thank you for your many efforts and sacrifices in pursuit of success for your children, especially taking the time to read to them every day. There is no better way to support your child’s academic progress.

We encourage communication and cooperation. School staff and parents share the common goal of providing children with the experiences necessary to enable students to achieve their dreams. Together, we make the very real difference.

-Mr. Alderson