While we strive to achieve and maintain excellence in our schools, we must look beyond the conventional matrices—like median ACT scores—to measure our progress. While standardized testing has some place in evaluating the growth and development of our students in core subjects, the level and quality of student engagement is an equally important measure of excellence (and statistics would suggest a greater predictor of happiness and success in the future). Students with passions rooted in the performing arts, fine arts, applied arts, athletics, student government and technical vocations have gifts and talents that are not measured or identified by standardized testing. Our goal as a District should be to develop well rounded students, who are empowered to explore and/or discover what they enjoy most and what they do best.
As we collaborate and develop our vision and strategic plan for the schools and the District that we want to become, the conversation should begin with the aim of a high school education. We must remain cognizant that when it comes to education, one size most certainly does not fit all. We must honor student individuality, celebrate what makes them different, and foster their diverse needs to the greatest extent possible. Our ultimate goal should be to engage, encourage and support all of our students to fulfill their full potential, and be the best that they can be, regardless of the path they choose.