Site Meter Josh's Blog: November 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Community Forum

Tuesday's community forum was a great opportunity to talk with each other and with the Commissioner, Mark McQuillan, about our achievement data, accountability and the implications of new state legislation. I really appreciate the presence of so many building administrators. Many teachers, parents and community members also showed up. I received an email from one community leader who said that it was eye-opening to be able to sit down with teachers, parents and administrators who he didn't know and hear their ideas about, and commmitment to, quality education in Stamford.

The commissioner publicly endorsed my strategy to engage the State department early to start working proactively on our efforts to close the achievement gap and meet the requirements of the new state legislation. I'm of the firm belief that we're smart and committed enough to be able to meet the demands of NCLB and the State without letting quality and excellence suffer. We can't allow the things that make the Stamford Public Schools great suffer because of arguably short-sighted and mis-guided legislation. We also have to recognize that we need to change some of our practices and learn together about how to make sure that each and every one of our children graduates ready for higher education and the 21st Century. I know we have the ability to be the best urban district in the country, but it's going to take a lot of hard work and deep thinking on all of our parts.

The link to my presentation at the community forum is on the website.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rogers Wins an Award!!

Congratulations to the International School at Rogers Magnet, which this week won the 1st annual Lone Pine School Award. The award recognizes elementary schools in Fairfield County that achieve the greatest gain for students over a sustained period of time. Finalists included the Renaissance School at Hamilton Avenue in Greenwich, the Booth Hill School in Trumbull, the Morris Street School in Danbury; and the Multicultural Magnet School in Bridgeport.

The Lone Pine Award is about leadership, collaboration, and having high expectations for all children. I’d like to commend Cathy Cummings, along with her staff and families, for embracing the notion that each and every child can achieve at a high level. One of my favorite observations from my visits at Rogers is watching Cathy ask students, “What are you learning?” and hearing their enthusiastic replies. The mere fact that the question is asked reflects a belief system that all children are capable of excellence.

I am pleased that the Lone Pine Foundation recognizes there is high quality instruction taking place in all schools and is making an effort to highlight some of the very best. In accepting the award on Tuesday night, Cathy spoke passionately about her school community and quoted the philosopher Albert Schweitzer. I thought his powerful words would be inspirational to all of us:

“It is not enough merely to exist. It’s not enough to say, “I’m earning enough to support my family. I do my work well. I’m a good father, husband, churchgoer.”

That’s all very well. But you must do something more. Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.”