First and foremost, Shanah Tova to everyone in our community celebrating Rosh Hashanah. We hope that you’ve had a wonderful holiday with your family and friends.
We are so fortunate. Really, we are very lucky to have the opportunity to work with your children. We don’t take that for granted for one second. Each year, you trust us to care for the “centers of your universe” like they are our own children. You ask us to support their growth and development as students, performers, athletes, artists, and above all, as people. You expect your children to be safe at all times and protected from the hurt that comes with being unsuccessful while experiencing a healthy dose of the joy that comes with achieving. We always strive to not only meet, but hopefully exceed these lofty but very fair expectations. I am very proud to work with over 600 staff members who take this challenge personally and are committed to your children in every way.
We got off to a great start to the year this morning as all of our staff met for our official “welcome back” program. This was simply a continuation of their great work throughout the summer to prepare for this year. We discussed the District’s strategic plan, the Blueprint, that was developed collaboratively over the summer. We discussed their great work over the past year and we dug into what this year will look like for the organization. We settled in as people put their finishing touches on preparations for what will be our best year yet.
We’re focused on some key ideas this year that build on the District’s long tradition of success.
First, the Blueprint focuses on Academic Rigor for All Students, Systems, specifically as they relate to our work in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Mental Health and Wellness.
Second, we discussed the importance of continuing to not just say, “every child, every day, every way,” but that we need to keep living it too. To that point, I’m excited to share that our graduation rate that was 86% in 2013 is now 97% for all students; 72% for Hispanic students then is now 93%; 54% for African-American students then is now 92%; and 72% for economically disadvantaged students then is now 95%. In other words, success at Brighton is for everyone.
Third, we discussed the need to breathe deep, pay attention to all of the many needs of students, and know that we will all make up for what we experienced during the pandemic but we will do so over time. We’re focused on all of the needs of our students and being aware of the many challenges that you have all faced and continue to face.
Finally, we also discussed the need to create space for civil discourse in our classrooms. It has never been more important to make sure that all students can express themselves and their opinions, use facts to support their positions, and honor critical thinking and rigorous respectful debate that is open to all members of our school community.
At the end of the day this seems to boil down to “challenge, support, care: inclusively, responsively and constantly.”
We’re so excited to greet your children tomorrow and to have a safe, healthy and happy new year. Thank you for trusting us with them.
…every child, every day, every way
Kevin McGowan, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools
P.S. In case you missed it, we created printable signs to celebrate the first day of school. Click here to download them: