It is my honor to greet you as the Superintendent of the Windham Public Schools at the beginning of another school year. This is an exciting time in education in general and for the Windham School District in particular. I am looking forward to partnering with staff, students. families, and the community in Windham’s quest to close the achievement gap of our students and ensure each student graduates high school college and career ready. Together we can build this school district to be the center for education excellence in northeastern Connecticut.
Created as a guide to improving our schools, implementation of Windham Public School’s 3 Year Strategic Operating Plan began in the 2012-13 school year. The plan defines how Windham’s reform strategy will be carried out to close the achievement gap of Windham students. As we enter the second year of implementation of our strategic operating plan, we are wholeheartedly focused on our six goals:
1. Create a Portfolio of High-Performing Effective Schools
2. Improve Teacher and Leader Quality and Retention
3. Remove Barriers to High Performance
4. Improve Instruction for All Students
5. Improve the Management of Public Resources
6. Increase Parent and Community Involvement and Support
We recognize the need to create more choices and pathways to meet the educational needs of our students while simultaneously improving upon the schools that have served our students well for decades. With this in mind we have created two themed academies, STEM and Humanities & Arts, at Windham High school as well as opened Northeast Connecticut’s first preK-8 grade regional magnet school, the Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy. These are both tremendous steps in tapping into students educational interests and ensuring each Windham student graduates highs school college and career ready.
Another step towards college and career readiness includes increasing our expectations, providing a more rigorous core curriculum and increasing parent and community engagement throughout all of our schools. To this end we have increased learning time for students by increasing the length of the school day, are utilizing before and after school programming and extending the hours of Windham High School facilities. Curriculum work continues to align with the Common Core State Standards and relationships are forming with the University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University and Quinebaug Valley Community college to increase the number of students participating in dual credit courses.
We are also working to ensure Windham hires and retains the most talented, effective teachers and administrators. While many personal, family, and neighborhood factors contribute to a student's academic performance, a large body of research suggests that—among school-related factors—teachers have the most impact. We hold our instructional staff accountable to the highest standards in the region and know that to achieve excellence we must cultivate excellence in our staff.
Several steps were taken over the last year to improve the district’s transparency, efficiency and responsible management of public resources. An all funds budget that includes all grant money received and allocated 70% general funding to the schools was created, Global Positioning System devices were acquired for all buses to improve efficiency and safety, and a 10-year Facilities Master Plan which set renovation priorities for school buildings was established and approved by the Board of Education. These are just a few of the measures taken to guarantee Windham Public Schools will meet the expectations of our diverse community and continue to provide a safe and effective learning environment for its staff and students.
I know that while there will be challenges ahead the most important mission we must undertake is to close the achievement gap and we will only succeed if we undertake it together. I encourage everyone in the Windham community to become involved with our schools, sit in on a Board of Education meeting, attend a school event or take a tour of our buildings. Public schools are one the most valuable assets to a community and the Windham community will benefit as a whole from everyone’s support and involvement.
2013-2014 Open Office Hours, 6:00pm at the office of the Superintendent
Tuesday, October 1st
Monday, December 2nd
Tuesday, January 14th (6:00pm)
Thursday, February 6th
Monday, March 3rd
Tuesday, April 1st
Thursday, May 8th
Monday, June 2nd
It is a privilege for me to work to meet our students’ educational needs.