Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Teachers Make it Happen

This has been a truly remarkable year at Hudson. A common theme has begun to emerge in the last several months. That theme: 'It's Good to Be a Pirate'. This isn't something that I alone have noticed, or a phrase coined by me. It is a sentiment shared by many, and has been a topic of reflection as we prepare for next year. Hudson Schools is a great place to be and a great place to work, due in large part to the effort of our teachers. In fact, I would place this year as a highlight and one that I won't soon forget. We can point to significant and monumental accomplishments-the launch of a connected learning initiative, a new 'reformed' math curriculum, and even being a leader in the state when it comes to developing and implementing a system of teacher leadership. 

It has been a joy to experience and share in the accomplishments of our young people. From their success in sports to the progress they have made in the classroom, we have a lot to be proud of. I am quite certain each teacher in the district can think of a particular student or circumstance where a little 'Hudson Magic' happened. Perhaps it was that first grade student that was able to finally say 'I Can'; or the high school senior who not only will cross the finish line next week, but will even go on to college. Maybe that is when you were reaffirmed, realized or even remembered that it was all worth it. 

We have tremendous momentum right now, and for all the great things that have happened this year I can only imagine they are going to get better. Our district is poised to do amazing things, to be one that is looked upon and emulated by others. Why is that? It is because of the commitment our teachers have to the students they serve and the amazing things they do each day.

Our teachers have been challenged this year. A year ago in December we asked the secondary staff if they wanted to begin a connected learning initiative. We were upfront in our hypothesis that moving in this direction would not be easy. In fact, it was going to require everyone to put in more time, to engage in a rigorous training program, and to step outside of their comfort zone. A year and a half later, teachers are surpassing those expectations. In the elementary, our staff has been deeply involved in the implementation of a new math curriculum. There is no mistaking that these challenges required the acquisition of new knowledge, a break from past practice, and embracing reality outside of existing paradigms. We are almost a year into this implementation and beginning to hit our stride. 

While it is true that we have a lot going on right now, it is also true that everything is interrelated and connected. We are moving toward one common goal, and that is to 'Create Effective Environments That Result in Success for All Students'. That vision will be realized by strengthening instruction through embedded professional development. That vision will be brought to bear through the continued commitment and dedication of our teachers to the students they work with each day, and the collaborative environment that is beginning to be embedded in our culture.

The work that we ask all of our teachers to to is hard. It is exhausting. It is noble. So thank you teachers, for all you do to make it 'Good to Be a Pirate'!

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