Superintendent's Message: August 2016
The beginning of August is one of the busiest and most exciting times of the year for me. We spend all summer preparing for our students to return, and we will soon be rewarded with the sound of their feet and voices back in our classrooms! I am even more excited than usual, because we will be providing some exciting new opportunities for our students this year.
Norfolk Public Schools has a lot of great long-term strategies in place, including a strong mission and vision, a comprehensive strategic plan, and a highly effective instructional model. We will continue to use these valuable tools daily, because we know they are working. We are seeing impressive increases in our achievement scores and graduation rate, and we received several state and national awards last year.
However, you will see some key changes at each level of the district, including the following:
We have added several full-day classrooms to Little Panthers Preschool this year. These are so popular that we already have 30 students on our waiting list. Continued expansion in this area is critical.
We have adopted a new reading program for grades K-2 that is more rigorous. It is a very comprehensive program that will focus on higher levels of learning and deeper levels of comprehension.
We have two new principals at the Middle School. Mr. Chuck Hughes was promoted to the Principal position, and he hired Mr. Ryan Specht as his Assistant Principal. We also added two reading and math interventionists, to assist students who are struggling to master grade-level concepts.
We have two new principals at the Junior High, as well. Mrs. Jennifer Robinson moved to the Principal position, and she hired Mr. T.J. Shiers to be her Assistant Principal. They will bring a strong focus on student achievement data and intervention strategies.
We are implementing our first phase of our Career Academies this year. These will include two agriculture academies, a construction academy, a drafting academy, and a health sciences academy. We are very excited about these academies, because they will provide our students with the opportunity to focus on a career area of interest within our Senior High, while earning college credits through Northeast Community College and obtaining industry-related certifications.
Public education is no longer solely an 8:00-3:00, Kindergarten to 12th grade experience. We have before and after school programs and activities, early childhood education programs, and college and career readiness classes and experiences. Many of these programs did not exist a few years ago, but are now critical to the success of our students. Because Norfolk Public Schools is committed to providing outstanding educational opportunities for all students, we will continue to adapt to the needs of our students and our community. Our mission is to ensure that every student is prepared to pursue their goals for their future. This requires us to be flexible and creative, as we respond to our students' changing needs.
Norfolk Public Schools is on a great path and we are seeing outstanding results! I can't wait to see what the 2016-2017 school year has in store for us!
Your Partner in Learning,
Jami Jo Thompson
NPS: Nothing Prevents Success!