READY, SET, GO!
The beginning of a new school year brings new opportunities and heightens excitement for the year ahead. On Wednesday, August 29th, more than 2600 students arrived at Waterford’s five schools and began their educational journey for 2012-2013. Prior to the opening of school, staff set up their classrooms and prepared for the return of our students.
The incoming Kindergarten class will be the class of 2025. We, collectively as a school system, are committed to ensure that all students are prepared to meet the challenges of the world, now, and in the future. Futurists remind us that 80% of the jobs for this incoming class have yet to be created, and 90% of the technology our 2025 graduates will use has yet to be invented. Our success as a district is directly connected to strong parental support and involvement, a talented, dedicated faculty and staff, and a system of continuous improvement that permeates all aspects of our work. It will take all of us, including community support, to collaborate in a meaningful way to continue our tradition of excellence.
Throughout the weeks of July and August, important work occurred in our school system. Our commitment to the continuous improvement of teaching and learning led to many important summer projects such as curriculum renewal, technology upgrades and installation, curriculum writing and valuable professional development opportunities. I’d like to highlight a few of the many accomplishments of the summer.
Our K-12 Mathematics curriculum was formally renewed and adopted by the Board of Education in June and will be implemented utilizing new resources that were purchased over the summer. During July and August, a team of 25 educators met to begin the renewal process for Music, School Counseling, Information Technology, and embedding Common Core State Standards in Language Arts. In order to deliver the highest quality instructional programs for our students, it is critical to have a curriculum that is rigorous, current, and very tightly aligned with state and national standards.
The recruitment and selection of new staff continued throughout the summer. We hired 12 certified staff members including three high school Math teachers, two high school Science teachers, two Special Education teachers, a Speech Pathologist, a Literacy Specialist, a Support Center teacher, a Physical Education teacher and a Music teacher. Our district webpage features a photo display and profile of each new staff member. The value of highly qualified teachers and administrators is indisputable, and we continue to hire the “best” for the Waterford Public Schools.
It was an extremely busy and productive summer for the facilities staff. They worked diligently cleaning all of the buildings, inside and out, conducting many repairs along with ensuring that each of the major projects, planned for the summer, were accomplished. Preventative maintenance on all of our emergency systems at each of the schools was performed to ensure that they are ready if needed. All emergency generators, fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems, emergency battery lights and all fire extinguishers have been tested.
The new Waterford High School construction has progressed nicely over the past ten weeks. Interior finishes are underway with painting, millwork and flooring throughout the school. Pavers are installed throughout the courtyard and main entrances. Lighting for the new turf field will be installed in time for our first evening event scheduled for September 12th. The Auditorium has received a fresh coat of paint, new lighting, and a newly constructed catwalk. The Field House has all new LED lighting and the lobby between the Auditorium and Field House has been completely renovated. In addition, the final stages of asbestos abatement were completed.
Our student transportation company purchased a new fleet of buses complete with the latest safety features. Our contractor, Transportation Services of America, is here to serve you. Parents are reminded to contact the school administration whenever their child encounters a problem riding the bus and to inform Mr. Ron Melnik, Director of Finance and Operations, whenever there is an issue with a bus driver or other bus company employee.
As we begin this new school year, all of us in the Waterford Public Schools are committed to providing the best educational experiences to meet the needs of our students and prepare them for 21st Century demands. We are a school district dedicated to continuous improvement, and your continued support and generosity are greatly appreciated. New opportunities await our students and we are ready, excited, and anticipate a great 2012-2013 school year!
Jerome R. Belair
Superintendent of Schools