Thoughts on the new school year

For educators, this really is the most exciting time of the year. After weeks of preparation, training and collaboration, we now are ready to welcome our students back to our buildings for another great year of growth, learning and progress. As superintendent of schools, I am proud to report that the school district is eager to make this year one of the best ever for each and every student in Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1.

In the spring of 2012, our school district has adopted a new mission statement to guide our work:

Kids first!

Whatever it takes.

Working together for educational excellence.

This mission has really focused our work as we have prepared for this school year.

Every decision the school district has made this past spring and summer, from reorganizing the school day, to building the school calendar, to creating time inside the school day for teacher collaboration, is what we feel will be best for kids. “Kids first” is more than a slogan — it is the basis upon which we make all of our decisions.

Our elementary educators have received days of intensive training in a new framework for building literacy called Success For All. This framework is designed to support the literacy development of every one of our kindergarten through fifth-grade students, from our most gifted students to our most struggling learners. Middle and high school teacher teams have attended Literacy Design Collaborative training to support interdisciplinary literacy development in the secondary grades. “Whatever it takes” means that our educators will continue to develop our skills and practices to enable us to reach all of our students. We aren’t giving up on any students.

Teacher leaders from across the district and all grade levels have collaborated in meaningful, purposeful training on how to effectively lead grade and subject level data teams. These teams will coordinate our efforts to help all students achieve at high levels. These leaders are now leading professional learning teams at each school, called SEED (Students & Educators Engineering Dreams) teams, which will meet Wednesday afternoons during early release time to monitor student progress and design interventions for students who need extra support. “Working together for educational excellence” is the new norm in Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1.

Don’t forget that Aug. 27 is the first day of school, and there will be children on the sidewalks, crosswalks and streets making their way to school. These children will be excited. They will also be distracted! Please keep your eyes peeled for children darting into the roadway as you commute around town next week.

I am eager to hear about how the first days of school went for my students. I hope that parents will hear, “This year seems to be different. Our teachers are really ‘fired up’ for us to learn!”

Please send any feedback about the beginning of this school year, or any other comments, questions, or concerns to me at acarter@cortez.k12.co.us. Have a great school year!

Alex Carter is superintendent of Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1. Email him at acarter@cortez.k12.co.us. Carter’s twice-monthly columns will appear on the Journal’s education pages.

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