My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Message from Superintendent Alberto Rodriguez

Just wanted to post this message from our new superintendent -- which is also posted on the ARPS website. As a School Committee member, but more importantly as a parent with three kids who will be in the Amherst schools starting next month, I'm very pleased with this statement and believe it sets precisely the right goal (making our schools world-class), and sets clear priorities and strategies (including making fiscally prudent decisions, using best practices research, and comparing/contrasting our district with other similar districts). I share Dr. Rodriguez's enthusiasm for the year ahead, and working forward to working with him at this exciting time of great potential for our schools.

Dear Amherst, Pelham and Regional Faculty, Staff and Community Members:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Amherst, Leverett, Pelham and Shutesbury for the warm welcome given to me and my family. Your hospitality and warmth shall always be remembered. I am truly honored to serve such involved, engaged, and passionate communities that believe education to be one of the pillars of our society. Additionally, I have been impressed with the commitment and professionalism exhibited by this school system's faculty and staff and look forward to working with such dedicated professionals.

The current economic conditions we are facing have adversely affected the four corners of our nation. The Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools are no exception. We have had to make painful cuts, while always keeping in mind the child sitting at his/her desk and the teacher in front of the class. In the midst of these budget cuts, we owe it to our students to improve our educational system while seeking opportunities for improved efficiencies and exploring ways to consolidate economies of scale.

As we forge ahead, determined to make Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools a world class PreK-12 educational school system, we need to model "best practices," compare/contrast our work and outcomes with similar school districts, strengthen linkages with local constituent groups and stakeholders, raise standards and expectations for all students, and always strive for continuous improvement.

I strongly urge you to be full partners as we collectively pursue this vision. The future is not for the timid and the solutions cannot be tepid. As a school district, we need to think big while taking small, but decisive, steps towards a vision where all children can and will learn and meet high expectations and standards.

I look forward to sharing this sojourn with you.

Sincerely,
Alberto Rodriguez, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

sojourn (plural sojourns)
1. A short stay somewhere.
2. A temporary residence.

Do you think Dr Rodriquez meant 1) short stay 2) temporary residence 3) journey.

Rick said...

I liked his message.

Whether ALL people involved will be "full partners" as he urges or, just protect their turf remains to be seen.

I hope everyone is open to new ideas that may lead us to doing things better and/or more efficiency, without studying them to death before trying them and without fear of dumping them if they don't work.

I like the "taking small, but decisive, steps" in his message.

Anonymous said...

Cynicism so early in the process?! C'mon Anon 11:51 let's pull together and work for the best possible outcome.

Anonymous said...

I'm asking for a reading of the word "sojourn."

Is their a common usage other than the ones identified above? If so, what? In my reading, which may not be correct, he may have chosen the wrong word to express what he intended to express.

Your assumption that I'm being cynical is incorrect.

Rick said...

"Your assumption that I'm being cynical is incorrect."

Of course you were being cynical.

But his choice of wording was not great, unless by sojourn he meant the (hopefully) temporary financial problems we are having, but that is not clear at all.

To me, not important - mostly what really matters is what he does not what he says.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, so it would have been nice if he donated whatever the salary percentage increase over the previous Golden Boy he's replacing back to the schools.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

I don't think you are in a position to tell me my frame of mind. You can say what you think was my frame of mind but you have to admit, I would be the the one who knows.

I think you'd agree that words are important because that is the only bit of evidence you have as to my alleged cynicism, and yet you're not willing to credit me with a sincere inquiry about what Mr Rodriguez meant by choosing the word "sojourn."

Do you think Dr Rodriquez meant 1) short stay 2) temporary residence 3) journey?

I think he meant journey. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

anon, anon, anon,
He's staying at my house for two nights, does that count?
anonymouse

Joel said...

I agree with everyone here, words matter. Here are the words from the new super that most impressed me:

"As we forge ahead, determined to make Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools a world class PreK-12 educational school system, we need to model "best practices," compare/contrast our work and outcomes with similar school districts, strengthen linkages with local constituent groups and stakeholders, raise standards and expectations for all students, and always strive for continuous improvement."

Pretty close to the central ideas in the original ACE letter, which drew rolled eyes and claims of elitism and even racism from some in this town, including past SC members.

I give him credit for this and look forward to his tenure here.

Rick said...

Anon July 16, 2009 6:40 PM:

Journey - but that's not one of the definitions of sojourn, so he used the wrong word.

But like I said "...what really matters is what he does not what he says."

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that Dr Rodriguez means that he will do everything in his power to make the most effective decisions he can while he is here - for however long that may be. Do we want him to commit his lifetime to solving our problems? Isn't everything temporary?

Over analysis is one of our weaknesses here in Amherst...this line of comments seems like a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Joel, I agree. Those are important words that signal the new super and the board are moving in the same direction.

Regarding comments being a waste of time and over analysis. I think communication is hard than you think and I have concluded that asking questions even when I think I fully understand reveals an aspect or nuance that is both important and helpful.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 11:51
I so agree with your take on the choice of words--sojurn...
Someone in the spotlight, as our new super is, needs to pick his words wisely and this is definitely a strong message if indeed he is aware of its meaning.

Pete said...

Good Night Nurse!!! Somebody take me out into the woods and SHOOT me! I cannot endure all of these blow-hards and their obsessive preoccupation with picking apart every freaking word. It serves no purpose except to bait someone into responding. Just IGNORE them. Writing back just encourages them!

Anonymous said...

To Pete:

Well said.

I never write in anymore as it does tend to prolong the ridiculousness (okay, everyone, argue about whether that is an appropriate, or real, word).

I'm writing to encourage you, though.

You, too Rick as you seem to have retained perspective.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

Anonymous 11:51 - I'd guess journey ... though I can't think of a time I've ever used the word sojourn.

Rick - I like his message -- and yours! Here's to hoping we can have new ideas, new efficiences, and less studying to death.

Anonymous 10:50 - agreed.

Anonymous 11:29 - again, I never use that word ... but assume he is meaning journey.

Rick - I agree ... actions speak louder than words, and I'm hoping to see some action in the direction he describes in this letter.

Larry - indeed ... but if he can do all that he states in that letter, it may be money well spent?

Joel - agree with all you said ... thanks.

Anonymous 10:54 - agreed!

Anonymous 4:54 - I think he meant journey. But hey, if he can accomplish all of that in a short period of time, while in temporary residence, that's fine by me!

Anonymous said...

Geeze Pete...such hostility...are you a teacher???