Attaining our goals
To remain true to the mission, to the learning process, and to our students — it was with these words that we started our budgeting conversations with the leadership team and the Montpelier Public Schools Board of School Commissioners last September. Through these conversations, we identified three priorities for the fiscal year 2015 budget: relationships, relevance and sustained leadership.
Relationships are the hallmark of a high-quality educational program, and we have evidence of the positive impact here in Montpelier Public Schools. In an interview with U.S. News & World Report, this is exactly what I emphasized. I believe there is a direct link between our newly expanded advisory programs and the meaningful relationships with adults that allow our students to achieve at the highest levels. For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has named Montpelier High School the No. 1 high school in Vermont.
Relevance is critical for students in a digital age. No longer are teachers the keepers of the content; it is readily available to anyone with a smartphone or an Internet connection. Are we teaching content or are we teaching thought, critical thinking and problem solving? Are we modeling rote responses or modeling perseverance, grit and resilience? Based on both local and national assessments, all three Montpelier public schools are demonstrating improvements and making learning relevant.
Sustained leadership is the only way we can create the necessary conditions for Montpelier students, faculty and staff to be successful. For the first time in nine years, there will be no changes in the leadership team. Sustained leadership gives us the opportunity to move the vision of Montpelier Public Schools forward and to grow with the professionals in our district to maintain the highest-quality teaching corps in Washington County.
Understanding that our state-funded education system is complex, the school board is committed to exploring grant opportunities and other creative ways to deliver education within Montpelier Public Schools. The Program/Finance Committee will be forming in May and will meet twice monthly through October. Are there ways that we can change what we do to better meet the needs of our students? That is the work of the Program/Finance Committee. As a community, we should celebrate and preserve our high-quality student outcomes, even as we search for new efficiencies in the way we provide educational opportunities to the students of Montpelier.
We have an educational program in Montpelier Public Schools that produces excellent student outcomes, pre-K-12. We have highly skilled and credentialed professionals in all of our buildings. We have a thoughtful and student-centered Board of School Commissioners. We have a supportive community that values high-quality education. We are doing things well in Montpelier Public Schools, and we can be proud.
Brian G. Ricca
The writer is Montpelier’s superintendent of schools.
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