First there was Wall Street reform. Next came healthcare reform. Now, with the 2010-2011 school year in full swing, all eyes are on educational reform, both at the federal and state levels. President Obama and his Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, have unveiled a new blueprint for what they would like to see in the overhauling of America education. Their stated priorities include having all students ready for college or to enter the workforce. The priorities include raising standards for all students, along with developing better assessments and providing a well-rounded education for all students, whether in a rural, urban, or suburban school district.
The President's and Education Secretary's educational blueprint has now funneled its way to the New York State Education Department. As a result, major changes in the manner in which we educate children in our state and specifically in East Aurora have been endorsed by the Board of Regents, Commissioner of Education, and state lawmakers. This new era of reform has as its goal, to provide all New York State students with a world class education that prepares them for college, work, 21st century citizenship and lifelong learning. The reforms are sweeping and encompass critical components that impact student learning. Such components entail raising the cut scores on grades 3-8 math and English assessments, more comprehensive and lengthy assessments, and the adoption of Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects, as well as Common Core Standards for Mathematics.
Another reform which will have an impact throughout our state and in our school district is a new system for evaluating teachers and principals as mandated by the State Education Department. The new system is designed to support teacher and school leaders to be more effective in their classrooms and their schools. Last, but not least, the Education Department has released a draft of New York State Teaching Standards. These seven standards will form the foundation of reform to build a cohesive system to prepare, select, develop and retain teachers who are effective in improving learning for all students.
There is a saying that, "Everything in life is a progression of steps." As we proceed forward into the 2010-2011 school year, our school community will take on and address the challenges of these reforms in a thoughtful, deliberate and collaborative progression of steps. Our ultimate goal will be to achieve increased success in learning and instruction for East Aurora students, now and into the future.
On behalf of our faculty and staff, our Board of Education, and especially our students, welcome to a new school year!What great changes have not been ambitious? - Melinda Gates