Celebrating the New Year

teenage pupils in class

The new year is upon us and, I believe, it’s an ideal time for reflection and celebration. I hope you won’t mind my sharing a few observations from 2015 that I believe are worthy of celebration. Here goes:

Graduation rates across the state are increasing– Given Iowa’s funding challenges and demographic shifts over the past decade, the fact that Iowa posted the highest high school graduation rate in the country this year is truly a cause for celebration. More locally, our area high schools have nearly universally increased completion rates now for several years. The reasons for this growth are myriad, but I attribute much of the growth to a renewed emphasis on collaborative instructional leadership and the increased use of data teams and professional learning communities. Let’s not forget, though, that these systemic changes are, at the end of the day, the result of a great deal of individual hard work and a collective commitment to seeing every child succeed. Teachers, counselors, and administrators in our area high schools should feel proud for the work they are doing. It’s working.

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