Greetings Gresham-Barlow School District Faculty & Staff,
The older I get it seems as if the earth spins faster and faster around the sun. I am sure that I am not alone when I share my disbelief that the school year is coming to an end. It seems like yesterday when I unveiled the district’s new mission, vision, and goals during convocation. We began the year with the theme - #BuildGBSD. It perfectly describes what this year has been about! Not only have we seen renovations and new construction improvements, thanks to the community’s approval of the 2016 school bond, as a team we have worked to build on our success academically. Even though the work has been demanding, we kept our focus on what matters most---our students.
With each student at the center of our focus, we began the important work to fulfill our district’s mission, vision, and goals. Throughout the school year, we brought together various school community stakeholders to focus on our strategic investment plan’s north star: GBSD’s Portrait of a Graduate (PoG). We learned that our school community desires each GBSD graduate to be prepared to become a collaborative problem solver, an effective communicator, a critical thinker, to be resilient, and to become a culturally responsive learner. More specifically, our school community wants our students to think like a scientist and --- not just learn science concepts. They want our students to not just have the ability to solve mathematical problems with procedures or formulas - but rather, that our graduates are able to apply what they are learning in math. And much more!
Informed by our school community and the PoG, we prioritized four areas of investment for the District’s Strategic Teaching & Learning 3.0 Investment Plan. This plan represents a comprehensive academic and financial planning approach that holds student achievement, growth, and the learning environment as its core focus, while also using a logic model (input/output/outcome) to ensure that our investments are financially efficient and sustainable. Below is a summary of the prioritized investments (not in ranking order) that are included in the 2019-2020 proposed budget.
Investment 1: Continuum of Evidence-Base Supports
- 3-5 science textbook and digital adoption
- K-5 health curriculum adoption
- Professional learning for updated curriculum adoptions
Investment 2: Data-Based Problem Solving
- Early-warning database and platform system
- Social-emotional survey system
- Professional learning for data-driven instructional practices
Investment 3: Teaching and Learning Environments
- Launch of a dual language kindergarten classroom
- Continued Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) programming in elementary, middle, and high schools
- Blended eLearning platform with 1:1 technology
Investment 4: Family, School, and Community Partners
- Development and expansion of 6-career pathways with local community partners
- Additional funding for student/teacher mental-health community partnerships
- Improved communication mediums for branding, input, feedback, & voice
Before we launch another graduating class into the world of adulthood, pack up for summer, and dust off our flip-flops - I would like to state that I am #SUPERproud and honored to work in a district of energetic, knowledgable and dedicated teachers, support staff, administrators, and Board of Directors. The fact that we have a school community that desires the very best for each student only increases our students' probability of lifelong success. The dedication, support, energy, and knowledge were clear in our collaborative work around creating the Portrait of a GBSD Graduate, in building our capacity around the board's goals, identifying curriculum, resources, prioritizing our strategic investments, and most importantly - as I visited classrooms throughout our district.
Despite the budgetary and organizational challenges, in the end - we are united in our advocacy for full-funding from our state that would support our teaching and that would provide the best access and opportunities for each student. There is no doubt that this work is demanding, too - but as #TeamGBSD, I know we will continue to INSPIRE and EMPOWER each Gresham-Barlow School District student to THRIVE in an ever-changing global community.
So, as the sun glows brightly this summer and the earth increases its speed traveling around it - do not forget that you make this district shine through each student. I believe that our future is becoming increasingly brighter, so - put on your sunglasses, buckle up, and for the sake of our community, our state, and our nation - let's all maintain our commitment to our north star and KEEP BUILDING GBSD! YOU ARE THE LIGHT THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!
Yours in education,
Superintendent of Schools