In case you missed the chancellor's email to staff today, here it is. I liked the part where he invited us to be in touch the great work we're doing. I'm SO going to take him up on that
As we begin the 2012-13 school year, I would like to welcome you back from summer break and wish you the best in the year ahead. I talk often about the importance of high expectations, so as we get ready to kick off this year I want to briefly share what I expect from you and what you can expect from me.
Simply put, I believe that all of our students have a right to a high-quality education, one that builds their academic skills and behaviors so they graduate from high school with the ability to think critically, use evidence to support their arguments, apply what they have learned to solve real-world problems, and demonstrate resilience in the face of obstacles.
Each school year—and each school day —is a chance to fulfill our students’ rights to become ready for college and careers. This opportunity is also an intricate challenge, one that makes significant demands on us as educators and that at the same time promises deep rewards. Delivering on this challenge begins with high expectations and a refusal to make excuses. Having faith in students’ abilities will not, by itself, guarantee high levels of student achievement, but it is an integral part of the equation. For the sake of our students and the future of our city, we must rise to meet this challenge.
Of course, as we all know, student achievement is not possible without strong instruction. This school year marks the next step in our multi-year transition to the Common Core standards. We are asking students to do more writing, to read a balance of fiction and non-fiction, and to solve real-world math problems. We are asking teachers to provide multiple points of entry so that all students, including those with disabilities and English Language Learners, can access these more rigorous standards. We are asking school leaders to provide educators with feedback and guidance. These expectations come with support: we will continue to make a wide variety of professional development resources available, including through networks, centrally offered trainings, and online tools like the Common Core Library.
Tomorrow marks the first school day this year in which we can shape the future of our 1.1 million students. I will be visiting a school in each of our five boroughs, and over the course of the school year you can expect to see and hear from me regularly. Please be in touch to share the great work you are engaging in and to let us know how we can best support you in your efforts.
The stakes are high. One in 50 American children is educated here in New York City. We are in a position of unparalleled responsibility and promise. All of our students are important, no matter where they live or their life circumstances. I am confident in our ability to serve our students and their families, and I wish you the very best in your endeavors this school year.
Dennis M. Walcott