To the citizens, staff, and Board of Education of the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District, I wish to report to you on the state of our school district as we begin a new calendar year.
I will open with the notion that we can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it. As we take a moment to reflect on the state of our school district, it is important to note that our school district is like our nation—it is built to serve its people. As we look forward to the year ahead, we will continue to draw on lessons from the past, but we will be urgently focused on continuing to build the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District institution.
Who do we build the school district for? We build it for the young people who stream into our buildings each day, and their parents/guardians who have high expectations of all the adults with whom their child comes into contact. We build our school district for the generations of children not yet in our buildings; for the children who will enter B-C-S School District in 2030, in 2040, and beyond. Last but not least, we build the B-C-S School District to ensure that we are providing a great value to the citizens and taxpayers who keep our schools operating.
B-C-S, like school districts across the state and nation, face a great deal of uncertainty. Questions remain about how the legislature will fairly and equitably fund a system of schools in Ohio. Questions remain about the assessments we will have to administer to our children. Combined with these uncertainties, we face critical challenges. For example, how do we best harness and utilize technology to advance the learning of our students. Knowing that the one constant about technology is that it is constantly changing, what can we do today and how do we prepare for tomorrow to utilize technology resources—from wireless hand-held devices to computer labs—to enhance instruction in our classrooms?
Today, I call on the staff, parents, and community of Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools to be not afraid of the uncertainties or feel overwhelmed about the challenges we face, but to look at the challenges and uncertainties of our institution as opportunities to take value-added actions for the students of today and tomorrow.
To help us turn challenges and uncertainties into opportunities, today we are guided by a strategic mission statement. The development of this mission statement was a collaborative effort between the Board and administrative team of B-C-S School District, and was approved by our Board of Education on December 17, 2013. The mission statement utilizes the letters B, C, and S. While the letters B, C, and S stand for the proud townships of Benton, Carroll, and Salem (and the villages situated within them) that make up the name of our school district, we proudly use the letters B, C, and S to state the mission of our school district going forward. Therefore, the mission that will guide the school district is that WE:
Believe each child can achieve success and all staff must remain ready to meet the needs of children;
Challenge all students and staff to be civic-minded leaders, problem solvers, and critical thinkers, and;
Succeed when we work collaboratively with all district stakeholders to prepare our students for the challenges of higher education, training, the workforce, and life in a democratic society.
In addition to this mission, we have established objectives for six areas that represent six critical areas within the operation of our school district: Student Academic Performance, Stakeholder Engagement, Athletic/Extra Curricular Activities, Support Services/Operations, Finance, and Facilities. (Visit the B-C-S website at www.bcssd.com to view the entire mission statement and specific objectives for all areas.)
This mission of “Believe, Challenge, Succeed,” along with the objectives, will give us guidance and direction as we are certain to encounter challenging decisions that have to be made in the future. The mission set out above is highly ambitious, and it will require fortitude on the journey ahead—but we owe our children nothing less. The staff of B-C-S School District and myself, however, must be comforted by knowing that the citizens, the parents, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles of former, current, and future students will be there to help in this journey as volunteers, as fans, as individuals who selflessly donate time and effort to make our school spaces better and more welcoming, and in countless other ways.
Since we are all invested in our school district, I encourage you to take the time to look at the full document that lists out all of the objectives we are working toward because we want your feedback. The administration and staff will be checking our progress on our objectives, and we are always open to your thoughts and feedback on how you think we are doing.
In closing, the key lesson that we can draw on from our past is the importance of working together for the common good of our students. In my time here as your superintendent, it is clear to me that people working together has been a key ingredient in the success of B-C-S School District since it was formed from consolidations in 1967. Let us honor the past and build for a future with the mission—Believe, Challenge, and Succeed.