Dear SFSD families and community members,

We’re ready to welcome our students back

It never fails to inspire me when I hear our teachers and staff getting ready for the new school year. They’re always excited to welcome students back to our schools. Beginning next week we take time to reconnect with each other, share in professional learning and get our classrooms ready. We love this time, but the buildings are not the same without the energy of our kids who return the week after Labor Day.

I’m especially glad to start 2017/2018 with a sense of stability. The start of last school year was challenging for all of us with so many facility changes and moves. While our team handled the transition expertly, it’s great to be settled and steady.

Our students are growing

What’s also great is that our high school graduation rates are increasingly strong and have been improving each year. Our graduation rate of 89% currently ranks 18th among the 360 high schools in Oregon. This is truly a reflection of every K-12 educator in the district.  In addition, our high school graduation requirement is 1½ credits higher than the state requirement. Here are some other things I’m very proud of:

  • 97% of our kindergarten students performed at or above grade level in Language Arts and Math at the end of last year; and
  • 96% of our incoming sophomores are on-track to graduate.
  • With parent support, our students are doing everything they can to be at school every day.  Our district-wide attendance rate last year was just under 94%.

Creating safe and welcoming schools

It’s important to celebrate our success but we still have work to do to meet our VisionGraduating 100% of our students to improve the world.

This can happen only if every student in our district feels safe, welcome and fully supported.  I believe that our schools generally do a great job of this.  However, last year we learned some important lessons. In hindsight, I believe we could have done more to affirm our message of support for ALL students – regardless of race, color, culture, beliefs or any other differences. It’s time to step up our efforts and demonstrate our commitment as a unified school district.

This year, we will create and administer an action plan to further ensure that our school district culture reflects who we really are – a welcoming, caring, compassionate school community that supports the success and well-being of all of our kids. We’ll also be working hard to look at our efforts through the lens of equity, making sure that every student at every school has equal access to a high quality education. While our facilities and communities are different, we are working towards a more uniform approach to teaching and learning.

As always, I thank you for your support in providing our kids with a great place to learn and grow.  Please contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.  I can be reached by e-mail at bellando_andy@silverfalls.k12.or.us or by telephone at 503 873-5303.

Here’s to the best school year yet!

 

Andy Bellando
Superintendent