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Guest Editorial: New school year a new beginning for returning students, teachers

As we prepare to embark on the 2018-2019 school year, I extend a heartfelt welcome to new and returning faculty, staff, and students of the Gadsden County School District. I hope each of you had an opportunity to have some fun and relax this summer.

The beginning of a new school year and the first day of school are always special times. The first day of the new school year is the real beginning of the year for those of us governed by the academic calendar. Like many beginnings, the first day of school holds the promise and hope that THIS year will be a GREAT year.

As Superintendent, I know it will be one of the best years for Gadsden County Schools and that is because of each of you. My commitment is to continue to lead the district with integrity and work with staff to provide a well-rounded education that allows each student to reach his/her fullest potential. I have high expectations for our leaders, our staff, our students, and myself. In return, I ask for a similar commitment from all employees, parents, and guardians of Gadsden’s most precious cargo, our students.

Parents, please help your children reach their fullest potential by ensuring they arrive at school on time and attend school every day. Every day a child comes to a class late or misses school they miss the opportunity to learn. While students should not attend school when they are ill, parents should make every attempt to ensure that students attend every day during the school year.

Successful new beginnings start with the best ingredients and are applied with the best care under the best conditions. New beginnings at school operate in exactly the same way. Help us provide the best growing conditions for every child. Always try to talk positively about your school and its staff members in front of your children. If you have a concern, let us work together to find the best solution to the situation.

Always keep an open line of communication with your child’s teacher and build a relationship. If you experience any concerns at that level, talk with your school leaders. Collaboration is the key. As partners in your child’s education, we want to work with you toward the same goal.

We want to help every child find the path to their own personal success. It is my desire that we can all work together collaboratively to make this a memorable year and provide a positive learning experience for all of our students.

I invite you to join us August 11th from noon to 3 ­­­p.m. at James A. Shanks Middle School gym as we celebrate some of the district’s and school’s 2017-2018 momentous achievements.

• District 5-year Accreditation

• Board-approved Strategic Plan with a District VISION & MISSION, developed with input from parents and community stakeholders

• Rising student proficiency
-3rd Grade Reading Scores
-Amazing learning gains, especially for our most fragile learners
-English Language Learners performance on ACCESS 2.0 above state levels
-Exceptional Education Students achievement on the Alternative Assessment

• Improved School Accountability Grades
-George W. Munroe Elementary – from an “F” to an “A”
-Greensboro Elementary School – A
-Crossroad Academy and Gadsden Elementary Magnet – A
-Stewart Street and Chattahoochee Elementary – B
-Havana Magnet School – B
-Gadsden County High School – C

• No state-mandated takeover for Gadsden County High School

• School of Excellence – Gadsden Elementary Magnet School

• National Title I Distinguished School – Havana Magnet Elementary

• Salary increases for ALL instructional and non-instructional employees

ALL great accomplishments, however, we will continue to “Put Children First” and work to move Gadsden County School District from “Good” to “Great.”

I anticipate an increased level of professional growth and the creation of a shared culture of reflective, constructive feedback for all of us…educators, parents, School Board members, and students. The ultimate result will be more amazing growth and enormous benefits for every one of the students of Gadsden County Public Schools.

Yes, the 2018-2019 school year in Gadsden County will be a GREAT year. Help me welcome everyone back to the new school year, a new beginning. The Superintendent and School Board members are here to support you in any way we can as you engage in all the hard work and exciting new opportunities that lie ahead.

Guest editorial by Roger Milton, Gadsden County Superintendent of Schools