A Message from the Superintendent:
During the Kirksville High School graduation on May 23rd I shared with the students the idea that the effects of the pandemic could be compared to the effects of the large splash from a mountain-size stone dropped right next to them in their “lake of life.” The results of that splash would be spread very far and last for a long time. I suggested to them that they could either let the splash drown them, or they could use the preparation they had been given to stay afloat long enough to ride out the waves, then make a better tomorrow from what they learned.
What I did not say to them was this: I believe sometimes our water needs to be stirred. It can be healthy for a pebble or two to be dropped next to us and cause us to reflect on what we are doing and how we are doing it. This, I believe, is part of the positive impact of the recent pandemic. A pretty good-sized stone was dropped next to us in our district lake. We kept our heads above water (mostly); and we learned some very powerful lessons. We are anxious to use what we now know and move forward.
Over the course of this summer and the coming school year data will come to us that we will digest; academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and physical—in short data about the “whole child” that we are responsible to educate. That data will guide us as we continue developing and implementing our comprehensive school improvement plan. That effort was delayed by the pandemic. This plan will help us re-prioritize what we are about; then align our resources to focus on those priorities. I think we should call this plan Geared for Excellence. In the coming weeks and months, you will see more details about our strategic gear system that has at its center the needs of the students we serve. The plan will utilize the principles of multi-tied systems of support and will detail how schools will address the needs in each of the five areas I mentioned earlier.
I told the graduates that not only is the location of where the stone hits the water the first place to be disrupted, but it is also where the water first starts to settle. I believe we are in calm waters for the time being and, even if a couple more pebbles are dropped near us in the coming months, we are ready to partner with our community in overcoming the stirrings caused by the pandemic.