Dear Burlington Community,
As I prepare to leave Burlington School District at the end of this month, I want to pause and say thank you for all of your support of our students over the last nine years as I was Superintendent. It has been an incredible nine years and we have accomplished so much together! I learned in this time of the deep commitment our community has toward the success of all of our students, and how welcoming you are of all cultures and families.
I have learned so much from each and every person I have encountered in our great school system, from the Director of Food Services and his staff about farm to school and the importance of local foods; from the administrators, teachers and support staff who go the extra mile to help a student in need; from the community members who step up and participate on task forces, committees, and attend school events supporting our kids. Most of all, I have learned from our incredible students, who come to school to learn but just as frequently teach us lessons that we, as educators and parents, need to remember.
I thank the Burlington parents, who put their faith and trust in us every day. Our parents cross all backgrounds and have pushed hard to provide a truly enriching and equitable educational experience that will help deliver their children to a bright future. I recognize this is always a work in process, and I hope that my successor will embrace the core values and take the foundation I have tried to build and run with it.
I also thank the community – municipal, business, and community leaders – who partner with the schools. I invite you to continue to partner in as many ways as possible. One of the most important things we can do for kids is to create bridges between what they are learning in school and what the real world has to offer. Our students, with the help of our partners, have taken on federal testing issues, identified signage needs here in Burlington, participated on youth councils, and have stepped up with a voice to solve a number of community issues.
As I look back on my near decade of service, I feel gratified about what we have accomplished together. We have created a high-quality school district known for our innovation with the magnet schools and our elementary, middle, and high school transformation toward 21st Century learning; known for our commitment to equity, with our diversity and equity plan and socio-economic integration; known for our international learning environment with cultures from over 30 countries in our schools; and known for our invaluable partnerships, signaling high community investment in our schools. We have invested in our school infrastructure as well, with renovations of C.P. Smith, J.J. Flynn, Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes, and with the addition of an elevator at the Edmunds Complex. I am proud to be part of these accomplishments. While I may have been the conductor of the orchestra, without all of the many players working together in harmony, there is no music. You created the music and for that I am deeply grateful.
Today, our society is at a crossroads. Our schools were built for an earlier era and there is much we must do to bring our educational delivery system “up to code” for the times so that all of our children are ready for the demands of a rapidly changing world. I have tried my best to begin that “remodeling” process, and think we have made some very good progress. So many of you have been involved with the neighborhood learning conversations about improving learning in our schools, and with the Partnership for Change sponsored opportunities to have a voice in that change. BHS is at the cutting edge of a new way of learning, one that is focused on student interests, increased challenge, and connects students with the real world much earlier in their school career. The addition of technology at the middle and high school settings is allowing students to go deeper in their learning and be more involved in the purpose and outcomes. Stay tuned, we have only just begun and we want you there with us as we continue to improve.
Now it is up to my successor, in concert with all of you, to take the next steps forward.
Please know that as I move on, I will always follow Burlington’s progress closely. I wish all of you much success and look forward to hearing about your continued accomplishments. I believe in my heart that, because of all of you, this world-class City is making great strides toward creating a world-class 21st Century educational system. I deeply thank you for giving me the opportunity to be the conductor for the past nine years.