HUSD: Shaping the Future
Let me begin by thanking all those who work in the district for their dedication to the students. No matter what your job is, let me assure you that the work that you perform is important and that every child depends on you. There would be no learning if you did not come to work everyday with a passion for education and helping children.
As we enter the the second semester, I want to remind the community, parents and employees of the school district’s top priorities: improving student achievement, increasing employee accountability, and ensuring student safety. During my short tenure at HUSD, the board, staff, and teachers have spent a lot of time creating new initiatives around these ideas because it will be the foundation that leads to HUSD to success.
This past year we have done a lot of work in the district laying the foundation for success for this year and beyond.As the superintendent, know that I am focused, committed and will stay the course to improve our schools.Following is more information about our initiatives:
Increasing Accountability: Creating clear organizational structure
The district office has been reorganized to provide closer school supervision. Previously, the lines of reporting were unclear and needed to be simplified. Now, the schools are overseen by two executive directors; one who oversees elementary and the other who manages secondary schools. The creation of these positions has eliminated confusion about job roles and responsibilities. These executive directors spend their days in the schools they manage. They are learning details about how the school sites operate. Also, they available to supervise as well as provide direction and guidance for school staff.
Improving Student Achievement: Newly adopted student-centered approach to learning
In the past, the district had few meaningful metrics for measuring student comprehension and learning. This lack of vital information is one reason why some of our schools are in the Program Improvement today. Recently, we have began using the student-centered “cycle of inquiry” approach that uses data to design lessons, measure student learning and determine next steps in the lesson. In other words, teachers will know if their students “get it.” We now give students quarterly benchmark assessments to receive early, valuable feedback before STAR testing.
Ensuring Student Safety: Safety and learning go hand-in-hand
Almost three months later, we are still grieving and heartbroken over the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I want to assure you that every teacher, principal and staff member is 100% dedicated to the well-being of our community’s children. We are taking every possible measure to insure that students feel protected and know that schools are safe havens for learning and growing. HUSD is in the process of reviewing all safety policies and increasing campus supervisor trainings on topics such as verbal de-escalation, campus lockdowns as well as search and seizure techniques. At every site, there are safety committees who are working to improve crisis management protocols, safety inspections, and ensure there are adequate emergency supplies on hand.
I am excited about the work the district has done. It has been said that education is the most optimistic of professions because we must believe that we can influence the future of children and communities. The changes we are designing for the 2013/2014 school year will be a turning point for the district and our students.
3R's: Rigor, Responsibility and Results
Lastly, I don’t want to overlook speaking of the 3R’s for 21st Century: Rigor, Responsibility, and Results. The 3R’s is the new mantra as we create necessary changes in our schools. As parents, kids, teachers do everyday work, we should strive to integrate the 3R’s until it becomes a permanent part of our thinking. We need to apply Rigor in all our efforts including thinking critically and expecting excellence . Take Responsibility for what needs to be done to improve the learning experience for students such as reducing absences and turning in homework. And focus on achieving outstanding Results in whatever is produced. If we strive to embed these values into ourselves, we will start to shape the future of our students into one of success and achievement.