Summer is filled with great American traditions, the 4th of July and fireworks, picnics and family reunions, and of course hot dogs and baseball. Besides a few home games at Comerica Park cheering on our favorite and new Tigers, my family and I were able to finally experience a Cubs game in the “friendly confines of Wrigley Field”. We also made it to a White Sox’s game at Guaranteed Field. My family and I really enjoyed spending time in the Chicago. However, the best part of our vacation was being together 24-7 which is why I love family trips and vacations.
Whether you were able to travel over the summer or just relax at home, I hope that you too have been able to enjoy your favorite summer activity with family and friends. Believe it or not, it won’t be long before my social media will be lighting up with requests from students (and maybe a few parents) to close school for snow days!
We now join a growing number of school districts who will be starting before Labor Day. Students report on Monday, August 27, 2018, this is the first time since 2006 that Dearborn has started before Labor Day. The early start date is due to a state law that requires five additional instructional days.
As a school community, our work is never done as we continue to move forward with our strategic plan and provide a high quality of education for our students. On behalf of the Board of Education, our entire administrative team, and myself, I offer all of you our most sincere thanks for the great support that you provide to the students in our community. This year our district will continue to improve instruction and build upon the accomplishments of last year. A brief recap of last year and a preview of 2018-2019 includes:
- Our work is driven by the Strategic Plan which will be up for renewal at the end of the school year. However, we also had a long year of meetings as we addressed the high school capacity concerns and received approval from the Board of Education to implement a plan that will alleviate some of the over capacity issues. In addition, an infrastructure committee came together on August 1, 2018 in order to study our long term districts needs.
- Our Vision statement can be found all over the district! We encourage all students and parents to take pictures with the Vision statement during school related events and then use the hashtag #students1stDbnSchs when posting those pictures.
- Graduation rates and NWEA growth data continues to improve. Last year graduation rates rose to an all time high of 95% across the district and NWEA data shows we are well above national averages in student growth. We were the cover story on the State Superintendent Association (Michigan Association of School Administrators, MASA) summer publication. Our Vision statement and pictures are on the cover. Click on the link for the published article: https://gomasa.org/wp-content/uploads/MASA-Leader-Summer-2018.pdf
- Our three high schools and the Early College have received high ratings by several outside groups (US News, Bridge Magazine, and Mackinac Center) for their growth, achievement, and the preparation of students for success in college. College and Career readiness will be a major focus for the upcoming school year.
- We were also recognized by the District Administration Leadership Institute (DALI) a national superintendent association as a District of Distinction for our School Improvement Model. Only 45 school districts were recognized for this distinguished award across the country. Click Here to view the National Publication on that award.
- Becker Elementary was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School. This is the first school in the history of Dearborn Schools to receive this very prestigious award. Only 10 are given out across the state by the US Department of Education. This was a positive reflection on our entire district and we anticipate the recognition of an additional school this year.
- This Year the District Received an Academic State Champion Rating for Growth and Achievement Among Students in Grade K-8 as measured by State Accountability Data. Dearborn Public Schools Was Rated Number One in Comparison to Other Large Districts and in the top 20 when ranked against the over 500 Districts in the State. Click here for a link to the Report.
- The Mackinac Center also recognized the outstanding work in our school district. While most Michigan school districts are losing students and struggling with academic achievement, Dearborn Public Schools is bucking the trend. Serving 21,000 students, the state’s third-largest district is operating more than its share of top-flight schools. Click on the link below to view the full story from the Mackinac Center. https://www.mackinac.org/dearborn-schools-rise-to-the-top
- As we did last year, you will continue to see Cabinet members and myself visible in buildings, and in the community making ourselves available to support the teaching and learning in your school.
- We have ratified four union contracts with an overwhelming vote in favor of approval by the membership and the Board. This has created a positive staff morale in the school district.
- We continue to promote our joint venture, led by the DFT, which allowed us to pilot a new Home Visit model at Oakman and Long Elementary. The outcomes are encouraging and we look forward to expanding the program to additional schools.
- Our District has been rated as one of the safest school districts in the Metropolitan Detroit area. We will continue to expand our Restorative Practice model to support our students and reduce disciplinary incidents. School safety will be a major focus area moving forward.
The Strategic Plan, expanding School Improvement Teams, offering more learning opportunities, and all other programs and projects are part of the overall goal to create a school district that meets the educational needs of each student. I look forward to the work ahead and excited about being able to do that work with all of you.
Our school year begins on Monday August 27- Students First Day (Half-day). This year, let’s continue to inspire, educate, and celebrate and always do“Whatever It Takes” to put Students First!