"It is my honor to welcome you to the 2016 - 2017 school year. To our new teachers, I say welcome and thank you for choosing to teach in the Somerset County Public School System and to our returning teachers, welcome back and thank you for your dedication to our school system!
It has been a very busy summer! This summer we've continued to improve our facilities with a number of projects, we’ve improved our instructional practices and deepened our content knowledge by participating in extensive professional development and we have, for the 2nd year in the row, hired a record number of new employees to work with our students. At the same time, we have continued to foster relationships that will benefit the school system and help all of us work together as we move through this school year and into the future. Part of our growth also is the realization we are not perfect but we are on a journey that continues to challenge us and demand the very best of each and every one of us, every day.
As we move through this school year our focus will remain the same as it has in the past and that is on our students. Whether it’s a student in second grade or a student in one of our high schools, it is our job to make sure that our students are given the very best so they can utilize the skills and the knowledge gained to be successful in life, the next grade level or their next adventure. To that end the BOE asked the leadership team to develop 3 goals for the school year. These goals are not new, in fact they are very basic, but they are what our students need.
SCPS Goals for 2016 - 2017 School Year
GOAL 1: All Schools: By the end of the 2016 — 2017 school year, each student will have shown 20 % growth on a county benchmark and/or measure as determined by the school administrative team.
GOAL 2: All Schools: All schools will meet or exceed the established attendance rate of 95%.
Elem./lntermediate: All schools will see a 10% reduction in the amount of office referrals.
High School: All schools will graduate 92% of the senior class.
So I ask you, whether in your 1st year or 45th year, to give Somerset County Public School students your very best. Yes, it is tireless work that many days goes unnoticed and is even criticized in local and national news, but those cameras and reporters haven’t come to Somerset County. They do not see the people that I'm looking at this morning, those that are dedicated to taking our students and moving them forward. To that end I want to share with you several accomplishments that would have never happened if it was not for the dedicated work of the employees of this system. I encourage you to share these with parents, friends, community members and even those that doubt we are making a difference. We understand there will always be neigh sayers, but you can’t deny the following successes;
- First system to pay for student’s dual enrollment courses.
- First system to feed all students at no cost.
- First system to offer all day Pre-K county wide.
- Our KRA results were 3rd in the state and first on the shore.
- PARCC scores, which can’t be shared, were much, much improved.
- 7 PBIS schools – all gold award status.
- WAHS & CAHS – both named bronze winners by US News & World Report.
- GES - Early Childhood Program was recognized by MSDE Excels as a level 5 the highest level and 1st in our county.
- EES - took part in a great story on the role and life of a student living on the island.
- WAHS - had graduates offered more than 400K, including an appointment to West Point.
- CAHS – 100% pass rate for all dual enrollment students.
- DIES - 3rd in the Manga High Math Bowl in North America – Highest elementary school.
- WES – started first elementary band in the county.
- SIS – Green Engineers qualified and attended the National Sea Perch Competition at LSU.
- PAES – Maryland Center for Character Ed School of the Year and raised over $10,000 for the United way.
Again, I thank you for what you have done in the past and I thank you for what you will do in the coming days. In one week 2915 students, many of them very, very excited about coming to school will walk through the front doors of our buildings. And no doubt, they are some of the luckiest students in this state and in this country because of the people in this room. I wish you the very best in the school year and we look forward to seeing everyone in the hallways and in your classrooms! Thank you."