Superintendent Message (English)

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year! Wow! Year number two. We have accomplished a lot this past year and we have cued up so many great projects and tasks for this year and beyond. There is not nearly the space here to share all of the things worth celebrating, but here are some highlights… We go into this school year:

  • With a nearly 99% graduation rate! We only missed one student.
  • With a solid start on strategic planning and facilities planning.
  • Having hired some excellent people to fill critical roles.
  • Having three-year contract agreements with all of our employee groups.
  • Implementing projects funded by our $420,000 State CTE (Career Technical Education) Grant.
  • Having sent a K-12 team to social emotional learning (SEL) training and working toward launching K-12 professional development to create more social emotional supports for our students.
  • With cleaner classrooms and learning spaces. Our custodial team has been learning and working together to utilize new tools and practices to ensure that our buildings are super clean and functional. We still have work to do in the coming months, but you will be pleased by our progress.
  • And continually serving students with quality instructional practices in each and every classroom.

We have so much to be proud of, and yet, there is more work to be done in order to continually get better to provide the very best educational experiences for our students. You may remember me saying that I believe in a balanced approach to education that focuses on thinking, learning, and character development. I want our students to be broadly successful, which means having success in many ways beyond graduation. To that end, we will continually ask the question, “What does a 25-year-old Dayton High School graduate look like?” Are we graduating students: That can read and think critically? Students that have problem solving skills and seek to innovate? Do our students have strong math skills that open doors to college and highly technical careers? Do we produce strong writers? I want students that can clearly think and express themselves. I’ve been reading and rereading a fantastic book this summer that highlights the strengths of being able to write well. The book is Writing to Learn by William Zinsser. Two quotes in particular are worth mentioning here:

“Writing isn’t a special language that belongs to English teachers and a few other sensitive souls who have a ‘gift for words’. Writing is thinking on paper. Anyone who thinks clearly should be able to write clearly- about any subject at all.”

“Writing organizes and clarifies our thoughts. Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own. Writing enables us to find out what we know- and what we don’t know- about whatever we’re trying to learn. Putting an idea into written words is like defrosting the windshield: The idea, so vague out there in the murk, slowly begins to gather itself into a sensible shape.”

So, what’s next? How do we continually improve and keep a renewed focus on creating conditions and instruction that ensures innovative thinkers, readers, writers, and mathematicians? We do this with a strong mission, clearly articulated values and goals, and continually reviewing performance indicators with our teachers, district leaders, School Board, and community.

Our mission is: We are a District with heart… developing minds. We do this by (these are our values) fostering relationships and equity; expecting hard work and grit, innovation and attention to detail; and behaving with authenticity, humility, and a strong moral compass. We want to empower students for a life of purpose.  Our students win when we combine our strong staff of professionals with mission and values and a continuous growth mindset of getting better every day. One of my favorite authors, Atul Gawande [Better, 2007] says it best, “What is troubling is not just being average but settling for it. Everyone knows that averageness is, for most of us, our fate. And in certain matters- looks, money, tennis- we would do well to accept this. But in your surgeon, your child’s pediatrician, your police department, your local high school? When the stakes are our lives and the lives of our children, we want no one to settle for average.”

Thank you for supporting our Dayton Pirates and for your efforts to ensure excellent instruction and high levels of learning for all! I am proud to serve you and this mission.

 

Jason Hay