The following statement was sent out to the Randolph School community on the evening of Friday June 8, 2018:
Dear Randolph School Community,
The purpose of this communication is to express my gratitude for the support shown to me by the Board of Education, staff, and community. However, I recognize a divide exists and my message and efforts require refinement. I have been dedicated to this school community for more than a decade in various capacities: vice-principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent, and it is an absolute honor and privilege to serve this great community.
Randolph is a superior school district, and in order to thrive we must continually review our practices and be willing to explore and embrace change. A superintendent will be praised and critiqued for the decisions made in order to move things forward. I can assure you, I do a great deal of introspection and put a great deal of thought into every decision that I make and have nothing but the best of intentions for our staff and students.
After reflecting upon the comments and perspectives recently shared by teachers, staff, and the community, it is evident that I need to do more work to engage the stakeholders. I have scheduled meetings with parents, the REA president, and building representatives so that I may hear first-hand the issues that are brewing rather than waiting for the items to be brought to my attention.
Our Human Resources Officer will be reviewing the attendance plan and policy once again this year to ensure that supports and resources are readily available.
The leaders of this district have done great work toward achieving District Goals and are among the finest educational leaders in the state. Still, there is more work to be done among our leadership team.
Together, we need to be able to identify areas of growth and celebrate progress, rather than simply rely on anecdotal evidence. Using evidence, we can set clear expectations and ensure that measurable outcomes are being achieved, because opinions, perceptions, or past practices cannot hold us hostage.
Educators and leaders have to work together to plan for the future of our school community. We live in a world where communications are at our fingertips and news spreads quickly. We need to cultivate critical thinkers and collaborators to thrive in this environment. We have to rise above and share our knowledge and realize that teaching kindness and empathy are critical. The district will put an even greater emphasis on analyzing the many factors that influence learning.
Regarding personnel matters, I can say without reservation that every recommendation made to the Board is based upon facts. Such detailed information is not always available to the public. The personnel recommendations are thoroughly vetted and align with our mission to provide a superior experience to every student.
When a new position becomes available, we have hundreds and hundreds of applicants excited to come to Randolph because of our goals and vision. Our leadership team has dedicated two years to focusing on academic achievement, safe learning environments, organizational effectiveness, and innovation.
We have continued to develop ourselves as leaders and will have an even greater focus on the social and emotional wellbeing of students and staff next year. We are role models for our students; students learn by what we ‘teach’ and by how we act—with integrity, respect, empathy, support, and a desire to always learn and grow. We will always have work to do, and by working together on these goals we can continue to excel.
Some Highlights from this School Year
In addition to continuing a superior educational experience, the district has realized a number of tremendous accomplishments this year. This short list is by no means inclusive of all of the tremendous accolades individual students and staff have received. We have:
• Committed to adding security personnel, all with prior law enforcement experience, to ensure at least one person in each school building for 2018-2019
• Developed plans to add secured, double-locked doors and enhanced surveillance capabilities
• Been named to the 8th Annual Advanced Placement (AP) District Honor Roll by The College Board
• Been recognized for having six students in the prestigious AP Capstone Program receive a perfect score on their AP Research exam; only 176 students in the nation earned this distinction
• Increased the number of AP classes we offer and increased the number of students taking AP exams
• Been recognized as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants for 11 years in a row.
• Offered Mandarin at both RHS and RMS
• Focused on professional learning with an emphasis on student-centered learning
• Increased the preschool inclusion program to serve 72 students
• Created an authentic learning environment to serve students in our 18-21-year-old program (this does not currently exist in any other public school district in our county)
• Reduced special education out-of-district student placements from 68 students three years ago to approximately two dozen next year (saving a significant amount of money to be reinvested in our own programs and returning our students to our school community)
• Created an educational therapy program to assist high school students who had previously been unable to attend school
• Shared our Instructional Coaching Model locally and nationally to provide support for our dedicated educators
• Worked with our PTO to initiate a senior clap-out to allow students to proudly return to their elementary schools to inspire younger learners
• Through our partnership with the Randolph Education Foundation, and their ability to connect our school district with a community member, expectations of being awarded a STEM grant for our district in the next few weeks. Some Academic Accolades from the 2018 Graduating Class
• Our Valedictorian is joined by Co-Salutatorians for the first time
• National Merit Scholars: 20 Commended Scholars, 6 Semifinalists, and 6 Finalists
• 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar Semifinalist
Again, these accomplishments are just a few highlights from this year. We continue to work to ensure that mental health supports are in place at each building and to track attendance trends to ensure that our students are ready to learn. Research shows a significant correlation between student attendance and student achievement. Absenteeism rates continue to rise in our high school. We were cited last year and the numbers continue to grow. It is time for a different approach. We need to identify the root cause and implement strategies to better support our students.
Communication is paramount, and I welcome input so that together we can continue to make Randolph a superior school district.