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|Superintendent’s Budget Message|
|This budget embraces the belief that returning to pre-COVID ways of doing things will not suffice to meet the needs of our students. We have documented many adverse impacts of the extended school shutdown on our students including: reduced levels of reading and math achievement, particularly for our youngest learners; reduced interest in the post-secondary education application process; and increased course failure rates, particularly among historically under-served populations. Erasing the legacy of Pandemic-related opportunity gaps will require us to direct additional resources to students who have been disproportionately impacted by the Pandemic and to sustain these investments over time.To support the academic recovery of our students, this budget emphasizes intensive tier-two intervention, summer programming, and expanded dual-enrollment opportunities. It also includes more culturally sustaining middle school curriculum, increased English as a Second Language (ESL) staffing, and a middle school Culture Coordinator to promote a positive school environment, increase student engagement, and reduce punitive forms of discipline which historically under-served populations have experienced at higher rates than their peers.
Through the pandemic experience we learned it was possible to radically redesign our system of education virtually overnight. As we resume fully in-person learning, I want us to carry this knowledge forward. This past year, we placed our students with the greatest needs at the core of our academic program, providing students with disabilities in-person instruction as early as last July and expanding in-person learning to include homeless students,
|English Learners, and students in foster care. As we resume fully in-person instruction, it is our intention to continue to center these students and all students who have been historically marginalized.
COVID-19 caused us to hit the reset button on our system of public education. We have an historic opportunity to rebuild it in a more fair, more equitable, and more effective way. This budget represents a first step in a process that will take many years but could position us to become a better student-serving institution than we were prior to the shutdown.
In closing, I would like to thank all members of our school community for the flexibility, creativity, and patience you have shown over the course of this most difficult year. We experienced a wide range of emotions as we endured the pandemic. At times, the community was divided, but we never stopped talking or inviting each other virtually into our homes through the medium of Zoom. We revealed ourselves in very personal ways that may serve to strengthen our community in the end.
With vaccination rates soaring and infection rates plummeting, I can say with confidence for the first time in a year that the worst of the pandemic is behind us and that brighter days lie ahead.
John A. Provost, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools