Working Together Will Make A Wonderful Year for Learning
The start of a new school year is always an exciting time for educators, parents and students.
As the summer comes to an end, thoughts turn toward new teachers and new students. One of the best things about a new school year is that we get to reinvent ourselves. Children come to the new school year hopeful that this will be their best year yet. It's an opportunity to learn from the lessons of the past and rise to the expectations of the present. It's a chance to renew old friendships and make new ones. A new school year gives us the chance to be even better today than we were yesterday.
For me, a new school year is also an opportunity to think strategically about where we are and where we are going as a school district. I can tell you that today we are succeeding in Moore County Schools. Our graduation rate continues to climb while our dropout rate continues to decrease. We outperform the state and nation on SAT scores, and state test scores indicate continuous student growth. We are increasing access to rigorous coursework for our students, and we provide world-class electives and athletic programs. We have a dedicated and outstanding group of teachers and school leaders, and our central support team is second to none. We also realize that our success is due in large measure to the support we receive from our parents and this amazing community, for which we are all grateful.
Despite what we might hear in the heat of the political moment, our public schools are not failing - not across this country and certainly not in Moore County.
This is a historic moment in our country. Despite increasing expectations for student learning, an expanded curriculum, ever-changing testing and accountability systems, and a push from all sides to reform education as we know it, we are doing an amazing job. We are graduating more students than ever before, and more of our students are going on to and finishing a post-high school education than ever before. And our community is better because of it.
This is not to say that we are without challenges in Moore County Schools, of course. Although our community is well-known for its resort lifestyle, the reader will no doubt be aware that we are predominately a rural and agricultural district, and more than 40 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
We are experiencing many of the challenges school districts across the country are facing: growing ESL, special needs and low income populations, aging infrastructure, adoption of new curriculum standards, and the need to keep up with advances in technology in the classroom, to name but a few.
In spite of these many challenges, it is my commitment to our community that we will meet all obstacles to our students' success head on. We will ensure that every child, regardless of background, receives a high-quality education. We will ensure that all students are mastering the curriculum at a high level as seen in their classroom work, as well as on state and national measures of school success ... and we will ensure that our students are future ready, prepared to enter the world of work and higher learning beyond our doors.
Working together, our schools and our community can and will make this a wonderful year for learning. Working together, we will continue on our Growing to Greatness journey.
Dr. Aaron Spence is the superintendent of Moore County Schools.
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