Message from Our Superintendent

Message from Our Superintendent

L MillingtonDear Parents, Friends, Students, and Faculty,

As an organization that cares deeply about the success of its students, we are intensifying our efforts to meet the educational goals envisioned in the district’s mission statement.  The ends stated there are a true reflection of the hopes and desires the three towns have for their students, and are exceptionally worthy aspirations to pursue. 
To a great extent, the work done by the district as a whole has far exceeded the mission’s vision; but as with all organizations, there are areas that could use a little work.  For us, right now, those areas include student trauma and curricular alignment.

The number of students who have suffered significant trauma in their lives has been on the rise across the state of Vermont, and our district has not avoided this trend.  Trauma not only impacts an individual student’s ability to engage in school, it also affects the school’s ability to engage its remaining population. This is especially true as students who have suffered trauma learn to compensate behaviorally for the emotions they feel -- emotions that are often incompatible with an academic environment.  The district began addressing the issue of trauma last year through programmatic changes and staff professional development; but it has not been enough to address the magnitude of this crisis. it is imperative that we now take the next steps on this path.

The second area of focus is a curricular one.  We have fantastic teachers who are more talented than any I have worked with across the entirety of my career.  They deliver high quality instruction, they connect with the students on a very positive and personal level, and they are dedicated to student success.  Exceptional things happen in every classroom every day, but our students often perform poorly on state and standardized assessments.  From what I’ve seen, this has nothing to do with the quality or value of instruction offered through the OSSD, it is rather a matter of alignment.  What we are teaching is not closely aligned with the skills and knowledge required to excel on these assessments.

Recognizing these needs, I believe it is vital that we provide time for the faculty to come together as professionals to plan ways to address them.  To that end, we will be adding four early release days to this year’s school calendar.  On these days, students will be dismissed at 11:30 am and teachers will stay to do the important work of addressing the issues of student trauma and curricular alignment. The time spent will allow us to move the district forward for the benefit of all students.

We understand the logistical issues these changes may pose for you as parents, but we need your support and indulgence so that we can do the important work of making this district a powerhouse for students and student achievement; your students…our students...deserve no less.

The four early release days will be Thursday, Dec. 7th; Tuesday, Jan. 9th; Tuesday, Feb. 6th; and Tuesday, April 10th.

Layne W. Millington
OSSD Superintendent

P.S. Our annual Statement of Non-Discrimination can be viewed or downloaded from the "documents" box to the left.