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In Public Schools, We're All Dreamers

By Christopher J. Steinhauser
Superintendent of Schools

In recent days I’ve had the pleasure of visiting more than a dozen of our schools.  At each campus, I felt like school had never stopped for summer.  Students and employees resumed their important routines just like clockwork.

I saw staff reviewing goals for the year.  I observed great instructional strategies being used by teachers, with students collaborating and producing exceptional work.  I enjoyed watching student ambassadors welcoming freshmen to high school with tremendous positive energy.  I helped to greet the very first class of ninth graders at brand new Browning High School.  Elsewhere I chatted with a kindergartner who proudly informed me that he had learned all his colors.  Then he made my day by saying, “Thank you, Mr. S.”

These scenes felt even more poignant as we learned about the suspension of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which enables “Dreamers” – young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children – to live, study and work in the United States.  The suspension of DACA runs counter to our school district’s firm commitment to all students.

In our public schools, we’re all dreamers – students, parents and employees alike striving for a better world.  That’s what America is about.  That’s what our schools are about. That’s why we remain undeterred in our vital mission.

Behind the scenes, so many employees contributed their talents and energy to make sure the school year started safely and smoothly.  Parents did an amazing job helping their children arrive at school looking sharp and ready to learn.

We also started the school year with encouraging news about student achievement.  We saw significant gains on state test scores, and all student subgroups improved here, including all racial/ethnic subgroups, students learning English as their second language, special education students, and homeless and foster children.  We’re already hard at work analyzing data and making adjustments as we aim to close remaining achievement gaps.

Thank you to everyone whose persistence makes our improvement possible.  Together, we’re keeping dreams alive, and that’s some of the most important work in the world.  I wish you every possible success this school year.