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Superintendent’s Column - June 19, 2009

Your Support Makes the Difference

As the year winds down, and we enjoy this season of awards ceremonies, graduations and celebrations, it is only natural that we reflect on the events and achievements of the past year. In addition to recognizing the numerous accomplishments of our students and the fine work done by so many of our staff, I also would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for its support of the school district.

From my first days as Superintendent in Roslyn, I have been impressed both by the number of Roslyn parents who are actively involved in their children’s education and the depth of that involvement. It is something of a “truism” in education to say that parents are a child’s first teachers, but it is undeniably true that student success depends on parents’ engagement every step of the way. The proof of that is right here in this community. Excellent programs and dedicated staff are obviously important, but without strong parental and community support, the best efforts of teachers are too often in vain.

 Support takes many different forms. The more than 2-1 vote in favor of the school budget this year, despite some of the severest economic conditions we’ve seen in decades, is a testament to the community’s deep commitment to public education. We also see this level of support in the extraordinary number of volunteers who work “behind the scenes” on committees, in the parent associations, with local support organizations like F.A.S.T. and the Bulldog Boosters, and in support of dozens of school events and activities throughout the year.

 Among the hardest working of these volunteers are the members of the Board of Education. The community is well served by these individuals who are willing to spend vast numbers of hours meeting, deliberating, and making some tough decisions. I would like to commend Ron Smith, whose term on the Board concludes at the end of June, for his service as a trustee. Ron, as a former educator, brought unique perspectives to his role as a Board member and also to his prior role as chair of the Budget Advisory Committee. His calm demeanor and thoughtful style provided much-needed leadership during a time of great turmoil in the district. I would also like to congratulate Adam Haber on his election victory, and wish him well as he begins his term as a new Board member in July.

All of this support allows a lot of great things to happen. The strides we have taken in instruction in the past two years — for example, the opening of the Hilltop Academy and the introduction of the Columbia Writing Project — as well as significant progress in technology and capital improvements, would not be possible without a supportive community. The results of this support are students whose excellent performance is getting even better, who gain admission to the nation’s top colleges and universities, and who earn tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships. And not only do they excel as students, athletes, musicians and artists, but they also excel as citizens: this year’s senior class of 268 students amassed an astounding 38,000+ hours of community service.

 I encourage all of our parents to continue to stay involved, advocate strongly for your children, volunteer whenever you can, and maintain partnerships with teachers, administrators and other staff. This is one of the ways by which Roslyn became a district of distinction. Together, we can build on that success and reach even greater heights in the years ahead.

 Congratulations to all of our graduates. To everyone else, have a restful summer, read some great books, and get ready to hit the ground running again in September.