Superintendent's End-of-School-Year Message

WARNING: You are viewing an archival page. The information it contains may be out of date.

Please visit our current site at www.4j.lane.edu

2012–13 End-of-Year Message to Staff 

2011–13 District Accomplishments 


June 10, 2013
  

Dear Colleagues, 

A demanding but productive school year is drawing to a close. Before we breathe a huge sigh of relief and launch into summer break, it is fitting to take a moment or two to reflect on how far we have come and where we are headed.

First, I want to recognize each of you for the dedication, talent, energy and care you bring to your work. Together, we are making a visible difference for our students, families and community.

This year we set our sights on some challenging Board goals in the areas of staff capacity building, student achievement and college and career readiness, resource management, and community engagement. In spite of the challenges of larger classes, fewer supports and reduced services, we have focused on what matters most—ensuring our students are learning and that we continue to grow as a staff and district.

Over the past year,  we worked toward implementing the Common Core State Standards, enhancing performance on state assessments and increasing graduation rates. We made measureable improvement in fully scheduling 9th graders, which will result in higher graduation rates. We also worked on college and career readiness, equity, and closing the achievement gap. We expanded AVID, completed home visits to 175 families whose native language is not English, sustained the BEST after-school program, moved our Educational Options program to a new level with its expanded role as Early College and Career Options housed on the LCC campus, and implemented a number of other initiatives to better serve students needing additional support. 

We also pursued initiatives designed to enhance opportunities for our students including restoring some music and physical education at each of our elementary schools, offering high-quality online elective courses through the Virtual High School, and breaking new ground in adaptive technology and in enhancing regular classroom instruction through the iPad pilot. In addition, we continued to enhance school culture and climate by implementing the social development program “Caring For Kids” in eight elementary schools, with five more schools coming on board next year through a second year of grant funding. We completed significant work in enhancing our curriculum and instructional program to enrich student learning.

We continued to focus on building the capacity of our staff.  We strengthened our equity work through Taking It Up and CFEE trainings for our teachers and administrators.  We expanded access to and use of data for student-level, school-level and district-level decision-making.  We created more opportunities for teacher and administrator collaboration through our Learning about Learning and Learning about Elementary Learning networks. We completed our TAG compliance plan. And we launched an Emerging Leaders Academy for faculty who aspire to administrative and other leadership positions.

To better engage our external stakeholders, we worked to build stronger communications with legislators, key state educational leaders, community leaders and others to advocate for legislation in support of strategies to increase student achievement and sustainable funding for schools.  In addition, we strove to enhance our communications with our communities of color and disadvantage, our post-secondary and business community, and our parents.

Across the district, we’ve worked on improving efficiency and reducing costs.  With strong support from our community, we now have bond measure resources to fund the purchase of new instructional materials and improve technology across all schools, as well as to replace four aging and worn out school buildings.

These accomplishments reflect the dedication, perseverance and collaboration of staff throughout the district. You could add many more achievements worthy of celebration in each of our schools and departments—such as the engineering design studios and STEM building at Churchill, the consolidation of the best elements of the three small schools at North Eugene to better provide high achievement for all students, the pioneering of proficiency-based teaching and learning by teams of teachers, and the enrollment of native language speakers at Buena Vista.  This year has seen improvements initiated at every school by creative teachers, administrators and staff. 

Educating our children for a successful future is important and influential work. I want to recognize your daily contributions in providing the richest experience possible for our students. Despite the constraints and challenges caused by our financial situation, we continue to focus on improvement and we continue to find ways to leverage our resources—people, time, dollars and relationships—toward boosting success for students and creating the system of strong and excellent schools of which our community is justifiably proud.

In ways large and small, each of you has made a positive difference for kids this year. If I haven’t had an occasion to express this to you in person, please know that I deeply value your efforts and your commitment. I hope you have an opportunity to rest and re-energize over the summer. Take time to travel, pursue a hobby, enjoy the company of friends and family, and savor the experiences that are rewarding and help you bring new insights to your role in 4J. For those of you who are retiring after serving the district for so many years, I wish you the best.  You have contributed immensely to the success of our district.  I hope you have great enjoyment in this next phase of your life.

 

With appreciation and sincere admiration,

Shelley

 

Sheldon Berman
Superintendent