Schools are open and we are ready to ‘just start.’ Despite temperatures in the 90s and a faulty smoke detector at Woodland School just as students were about to enter on day 1, the opening was really quite smooth. I sense most everyone is happy to be back and develop the routines for learning that will carry us throughout the year.
Recently my son moved to Florida. He shares with me every chance he gets that he does not understand why everyone doesn’t live there. (I’ll admit that last winter I started to agree with him.) He sees all that is good from his perspective which probably masks his understanding of some of the reasons we happen to love New England which I tell him when he begins recruiting us to Sarasota.
Although I’ve only been in this position since July, I confess that I share some of my son’s myopic perspective when it comes to our schools. I see the quality of the students we graduate, the breadth and depth of the curricular and co-curricular programs available to students; I’ve grown to know the quality of educators we have working in our classrooms and offices each day and their commitment to students, and I’m really excited to see the total commitment to a kids-first culture. Why would anyone not want to live here?
Like my preference for New England over Florida, I acknowledge that some parents have reasons they prefer other schools over ours. It would help us greatly if we knew what those might be. Maybe we don’t have the right program; maybe there is a perception that we dropped the ball in some way; maybe the family has a long tradition of independent schooling that is important to continue. Whatever the reason, it’s important to us and I’m hoping those who have made the decision to not enroll in WPS will share that information with us. It will also be helpful to hear from those who chose to move here why they selected Weston.
In the next few weeks, we intend to reach out to those families who have chosen other schools for their child. We will also touch base with families who have moved in to start this school year. We will administer a survey but also hope families will engage in an “exit” or “entry” interview with district administrators so that we can gather deeper information. This is not a sales pitch or putting pressure to come back. We want to get better. We will report this data, without names of course, to the School Committee later in the year. Continuous improvement is a hallmark of an excellent district and that certainly is part of everything we do. If you have something you think would help us grow, please don’t feel you need to wait until we ask, we would love to hear from you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schools are open and the learning, by students and adults, has begun.
Dr. John Brackett