Letter to all CCSD teachers
I hope you are having a much-deserved, restful, and relaxing summer with your family and friends. I was lucky enough to have about a week for a road trip with my wife Jen and our son Landry to visit family in Colorado, Kansas, and Texas. It was a refreshing opportunity to spend time with family, and I now feel invigorated going into another exciting school year.
I am writing to you for several reasons. First, I hope you saw in the news that our graduation rate increased six percentage points in 2012, to 65 percent, and we made gains on the CRT in almost every grade level and subject area. I know these successes are due to your hard work. Please accept my heartfelt congratulations and appreciation for your individual contribution to these shining successes. Raising the academic bar and preparing every student to be “Ready by Exit” takes the hard work of each teacher. Please relish these “wins” because they reflect well on your dedication and signify a brighter future for our students.
You may know that Deputy Superintendent Pedro Martinez is leaving us at the end of July to become the superintendent of the Washoe County School District. I am proud of Pedro and look forward to continuing to work with him to raise the academic bar and provide targeted resources to students across Nevada. While we are currently engaged in a search for his replacement, I want to assure you that I am quite pleased with the preliminary results of the reform efforts Mr. Martinez supported, and I will direct the new deputy superintendent to continue on the reform path.
Second, I recognize this has been a challenging school year and summer for all of us, but especially for teachers who were worried about – or did – receive a reduction in force (RIF) notification. We are working diligently to place every teacher into available job positions. This has been a long, hard road for many of you. I often hear that teachers are frustrated because they have faced RIFs and uncertainty at the conclusion of several school years in a row. I understand this frustration, and I am working to stabilize our budget as best as we can to avoid these situations in the future. You might know that we have cut about $500 million over the past four years. We will continue to look critically at all aspects of the budget and make the reductions we can to avoid laying off teachers. I look forward to the day when the economy improves, additional resources are available to the District, and we can have a conversation about how we can better invest public dollars in public education. I hope that day will come soon.
Third, you might hear that I invited principals to select several teacher leaders from their buildings to participate in a “Back-to-School Teacher Kickoff” on August 20. We are funding this event through private donors who want to honor teacher leaders in the District. Beginning this year, I will start providing a back-to-school teacher kickoff, along with the traditional administrative kickoff, to celebrate recent successes and to have a conversation about our vision for the next school year and beyond. I hope to expand the teacher kickoff each year to include more and more teachers. We also have plans to gather your thoughts and input more often through roundtable discussions, town hall meetings, surveys, and other methods in the coming school year. Your opinion and your experiences are important to me.
Thank you for pulling together with the team at your school to provide the best education we can to our children. The successes we saw last year tells me we can do this together.
See you in August!
Dwight D. Jones
Superintendent of Schools