Dear Staff and Families,
As we come to the end of the calendar year, I want to reflect on the past year and share our future plans.
This has been a complex year of navigating the impact of COVID-19, including the social emotional needs of children and adults, and the loss of loved ones, while continuing to meet the needs of a diverse school district with over 16,000 students.? We persevere due to the hard work, effort, and resiliency of our amazing SPS community.
Let us take a moment, look back, and say thank you…
Thank you to all of the members of the Long-Term Facilities Committee who represent the State Delegation, BOE Operations committee, Board of Representatives, Board of Finance, and the Planning Board as well as teachers, administrators, paraeducators, parents, and community members.? Due to your commitment, SPS, with the City of Stamford, was able to work with SLAM, an architecture firm, to assess 23 building sites and develop a master facilities plan that addresses the needs in our aging buildings.
We have submitted two applications to the Department of Administrative Services to rebuild Westhill High School and Lockwood Avenue.? With the recent approval of both projects, we are working in collaboration with Mayor Simmons and the Stamford Delegation to advocate for additional funding.
Communication, Engagement and Professional Growth
Thank you to our students who advocated for and are participating in “student voice” opportunities with the Board of Education and the Superintendent.? We are in our third month of meeting with the students.? Our goal is to increase participation and develop a meeting structure that allows for optimal impact to the district.? Student voice is a powerful way for our high school students to improve the educational experience in Stamford.? We want to ensure that we provide the proper programming and resources through incorporating students’ perspectives, feedback, and input.
We thank our staff for their participation in social emotional professional development to assist our students, especially the ones feeling the impact of COVID-19 due to loss, isolation, and other unintended consequences of the pandemic that has continued far longer than expected.
Very special thanks to families who joined us for the Parent Pop-Ups this year.? The most recent Parent Pop-Up focused on a mental health pulse for parents.
In advance, we say thank you to our staff, families, community members and students who will join us in January for our Budget Listening Sessions.? These sessions were first introduced during the 2021 budget season.? We used this structure in May 2021 to get feedback on how we should allocate the ESSER and ARP grant funds from the State and Federal governments.
Finally, we sincerely thank the Office of Family Engagement who continue to introduce communication tools that will assist staff and families access information in our district.? Some of the high yielding communication tools include Superintendent and Principal’s weekly communications, Remind, and FirstView?.
Pathway to Career
Thank you to the Board of Education that approved a position focused on pathways for careers and workforce development.? The goal is to develop pathways that bridge workforce development and education, particularly post pandemic.? It supports the vision of the Governor’s Workforce Council – “Workforce Strategic Plan” and its call to action to business leaders and educators, and intends to provide opportunities for students to enter the workforce successfully.
Dr. Claudia Berlage , our Assistant Principal working on career pathways, is meeting with trades and industry leaders, CEO’s, community-based organizations as well as the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut Labor Department, and university and college leadership to develop a plan for career connected learning for students with a focus on pre-apprenticeships, internships, and entrepreneurship programs.
Now let us take a moment to glimpse into the New Year…
Moving forward into the second half of the academic year, we are excited about the work that began in December associated with High School Call to Action 2.0.?? SPS has “raised the bar for all students, accelerated the growth for struggling students, elevated the high school experience in Stamford Public Schools, and ensured that all graduates are prepared for academic, social, technological, economic, and global demands for the 21st century.”
Finally, in the new year, the Stamford community will be invited to reflect back and develop a plan moving forward codifying our new 5-year Strategic Plan.? The key areas of focus will be teaching and learning, social emotional wellness, chronic absenteeism, pathways, communication, minority recruitment, food insecurity, fiscal responsibility, and long-term facilities management.
As 2021 officially comes to an end, we look forward to the opportunities waiting for SPS in 2022.? Happy New Year!
Stay Safe and Healthy!
Dr. Tamu Lucero
Superintendent of Schools