Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year at the East End School District- home of Anne Watson Elementary and Bigelow High School. I’m excited about the new year- our new employees, our new banking partner, our new transportation director, our new maintenance director, and all the renewed spaces that we can begin to enjoy. We enjoyed enrollment growth last year and, hopefully, will see the same trend this year. More students means more financial stability. We have wonderful staff, great community involvement, parents who really care about their kids, and the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives every single day. With all that going for us, I know it’s going to be a great year.
I feel blessed to be here and I know that each of us want our students to feel the same way from day one. We all share a common purpose. To make our students and ultimately our graduates successful in whatever life endeavor follows our time together. We are all on the same team- the students, the teachers, the support staff, custodians, maintenance, bus drivers, food service, administrators, board members, parents, and community members all want to same thing- graduates who succeed in life. We are constantly looking for ways to make that happen.
We are a school district with High Expectations. When I say high expectations, what comes to your mind? Is it a way to think, is it a way to believe, is it a way to act, or is it just another educational buzz phrase? When I think about high expectations, I think about mind set- both ours and the students. I think about attitude affecting the altitude of every person I encounter in a day. I think about my commitment to education and to raising the bar to challenge all students regardless of challenges. I think about struggles- both in school and outside of the school day. I think about all I’ve heard about poverty, special needs, and social stigma.
I realize that I must treat every child, not just the ones I like or the good students but every single child, with more meaningful eye contact, smiles, praise, challenge, rigor, and high expectations. I accept that high expectations are not about what I believe or feel but rather they are directly about how I act. If I can motivate students, every student, then I can expect great things from every student. There is power in high expectations- power to close any achievement gap, power in showing to my students what high expectations looks like, power in empowering my students to believe that “they can” no matter what the challenge is, and the power to literally change lives. High expectations will change beliefs and cultures to the point that a student will say and will believe that “I can do anything I want to work hard enough to achieve”. I expect every employee to believe that as much as I do. This task is easier said than done but if we believe in our students then we must implement those strategies that will best serve every student every day.
Our principals are constantly looking for ways to encourage and to insure high expectations. I will be looking for ways for both our principals and myself to exhibit high expectations. I will be encouraging all our employees- teachers, custodians, bus drivers, maintenance, food service, everyone who comes in contact with students, to believe and to exhibit high expectations. I believe that our future is now and the time to act is today.
Most of all, I believe in our entire staff of trained professionals who want to be a part of moving us from a good school to a great school. Our journey has just begun but together we can make a difference in every life that goes through our schools. Remember, it is PEOPLE not programs that will change lives.
Thank you for partnering with us as we strive to help every student thrive!
Thank you and I appreciate you.
Dr. J. Doug Harris
Superintendent of East End School District
Please contact me any time. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my office phone is 501-759-2808.