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'Your Extra Efforts Bring Remarkable Results'

As the school year ends, it’s important to reflect on the impressive number of accomplishments and accolades that our schools have earned thanks to your extra efforts. I deeply appreciate those who helped to win a record number of prestigious honors this year. Equally important, I thank everyone who works so hard each day to help kids – not because they expect a prize or medal, but because they share a sense of duty and a moral obligation to give children brighter futures. This includes our teachers, administrators, classified employees and other support staff, parents, business partners and many other community supporters who have put children at the forefront despite difficult obstacles. That’s why our schools enjoy a level of success that many others seek to emulate. Student achievement continues to show significant and steady gains. We’ve successfully navigated one of the most difficult school funding periods in the state’s history without the damaging budget cuts seen in other school districts. What’s more, in just the past few weeks, a stunning number of top national honors have been bestowed upon our schools. Consider just a few examples: • The Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for Community Schools has just named Stevenson as the top elementary community school in the United States. • Newsweek's annual ranking of America's top high schools includes more of our schools than ever: CAMS, Wilson, Renaissance and Poly high schools. • The Robert A. Millikan Student Energy Team, or RAMSET, won the National Senior Level School of the Year Award in the National Energy Education Development (NEED) competition. Millikan earned first place among similar groups in over 40 states. • Roosevelt Elementary School is one of only six schools nationwide to receive the 2006 National School Change Award for significant and sustained improvement in student achievement. The award is given by the National Principals Leadership Institute at the Fordham University Graduate School of Education. Most school districts would be thrilled to win just one of these honors, but to win these multiple national awards – all in the span of just a few weeks – speaks volumes about your level of dedication and commitment to children. I hope you will take some well deserved time to relax and savor not only these honors, but also your everyday victories that give our children the skills, knowledge and hope they need to succeed. I wish you a safe, rewarding closure of the traditional school year. Have a wonderful summer.