As we approach our last day with students before the summer holiday, I want to thank you for your efforts, expertise and positivity in service to children and their families this year. I’ve had the good fortune of being able to catch up with many of you in the last few weeks and am so impressed by your passion and love for your students and their learning - as well as your dedication to push them to maximize their learning through the final bell. Thank you for finishing strong!!
It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago we started the school year engulfed in smoke, scrambling to support emergency response personnel while evacuating Cascade Locks School, and trying to be a normalizing factor for the families most impacted by the Eagle Creek Fire. I think I’ll always remember taking a quick photo of the Cascade Locks staff - on what was supposed to be the first day of school - rushing to load up vans with critical curricula, supplies and technology within the two-hour window we were given to evacuate the school. The next day, the Westside School community, along with their Cascade Locks colleagues, welcomed the kids (picked up by our awesome bus drivers in shelters and hotels in Washington and elsewhere) with hugs, smiles and backpacks filled with school and living supplies… and then teaching and learning skillfully snapped right into place - amazing!
As I begin to reflect on this year, it’s not only these types of “heroic” moments that emerge. I’m struck by the visible joy and daily accomplishments occurring on our campuses… from the increased skills and confidence in our youngest learners to the smiles on the faces of one of our largest graduating classes ever as they cross the HRCSD finish line and begin their post-secondary journeys. I’m similarly grateful for the relative harmony and strong support for our schools within the broader Hood River County community. In the last two-and-a-half years our community has twice voted for tax measures in support of our schools, and both times at historically high levels: 72% for the capital bond and 74% for the operating levy! This past election was the first time the majority of residents in each of the thirteen voting districts in our County voted in favor of the Local Option Levy. Comparably, most school districts in Oregon cannot garner the support of their communities in such tangible, critical ways. These recent election results are a testament to your work, your high standing in our community, and the level of faith you’ve earned from Hood River County residents via our increasingly positive student outcomes.
As you begin to reflect on your own professional voyage this year, I urge each of you to take a moment to identify the successes and breakthroughs you’ve facilitated with your students. I am absolutely certain that you have made a positive difference in children’s lives over the course of 2017-18.
Reflecting on one’s practice and looking for ways to advance one’s knowledge and skill is a critical aspect of professional learning and improvement. I am wishing you the most wonderful, fulfilling summer of fun... and reflection. Hope to see you out there!
Thank you for a fantastic school year!
My very best-
Dan Goldman | Superintendent
Hood River County School District
Excellence. Every student. Every day.