Now that votes have been cast, we as a district and community have much to reflect upon. I am immensely proud of the efforts so many of you made on getting the vote out, encouraging our community to express their opinions and personally work on ballot measures that mattered to you. I can’t think of a more impactful way to behave as an educational community than to lead by example. I am grateful for our community partners who provide unfailing support for our student work in many and meaningful ways: Springfield Education Foundation, Team Springfield, our faith based organizations, Springfield Chamber of Commerce and their members, to name but a few.
As we do everyday, we come to today’s work with the belief that every child in Springfield deserves the very best education possible. As such, our obligation to our students and their families is that we protect, advocate for and value all equally. Your strong commitment to equity of academic outcomes for all our students is tangible in the way you approach your work. Understandably, today, as we engage in that work it is with a collective angst about the future of adequate school funding as we enter the 2017-19 legislative session.
What I know about us a district is that we are oriented to finding solutions not excuses as we face challenges. It is clear as I continue to meet with you, district wide, you are visibly reflecting on and working in a solutions oriented manner. Challenges are addressed from a “we not me” perspective. I appreciate our associations as valued partners in leading our district. Collectively, we are committed to collaborative communication and problem solving. This approach is not just important; it is critical to our ongoing success, especially in challenging times.
With that in mind, next week we launch our level leadership meetings where teacher leaders, principals and others from every school will come together to discuss, share ideas and gather input from their respective staff on potential solutions for the challenges facing our district in the coming year. This year SEA President Anne Goff and HR Director Dr. Henry facilitated conversations between principals and SEA building representatives to deepen our capacity for proactive, solutions oriented approaches at the building level. These meetings will continue throughout the year. Our many advisories, teacher, principal, parent, faith based and business, continue to inform and guide my decisions on your behalf. Additionally, my leadership team and I will be out to buildings and departments earlier this year to hear your budget concerns and gather your input, following the same fiscally responsible and equitable practice we instituted last year. In short, there are many avenues where your voice is heard and appreciated.
Kemi Sogunle notes, “The tests we face in life's journey are not to reveal our weaknesses but to help us discover our inner strengths. We can only know how strong we are when we strive and thrive beyond the challenges we face.” I have no doubts about our abilities to face the challenges ahead of us. Please know how much you are appreciated, how proud I am of the work you do on behalf of our students and how honored I am to be your superintendent. Together we will guide our district forward and our students to success.