Monday, January 6, 2014

Moving Forward In 2014

Dangerously frigid temperatures forced us to close schools today, but I still get a warm feeling when I look ahead to another great year for our district. Yes, there are challenges ahead, but I see continuing improvement and maintained excellence as we move into 2014.  As I viewed Lincoln Elementary School’s special edition newsletter, I believe it personifies the good work, collaboration and passion our staff has in the work that we all do.  If you have a moment please view this link.

The Grand Balancing Act - 2014

Our Board will face difficult decisions as it considers funding and policies necessary to continue our journey toward excellence. Commissioners must also consider their constituents’ ability to pay. This balancing act will present itself in many ways and at various times throughout the year.

For example, we are now considering OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits). We have conducted meetings with our employee groups to determine some of the options the Board will have. Four proposals, including one offered by JEA representatives, are now being assessed by actuaries to determine costs.

I understand that employees are concerned about their compensation, benefits and employment expectations. While all those issues have not been resolved, I can assure every SDJ employee that I will work with the Board to ensure, to the best extent possible, that every employee has the leadership, support and materials needed to perform at the highest levels and support the continuing improvement in student achievement.

As we move forward, we will continue to invite all employees to participate in implementing our mission and goals. Administrators and supervisors will continue to welcome assessments by employees they are responsible for. Employee performance, including mine, will be evaluated and reported. Transparency is more than a buzzword at SDJ. It is part of our culture.

The new year brings exciting opportunities in the area of our Janesville International Education Program. The benefits of our visits last year to China and other countries will be fully realized in 2014 as we move forward. Stay tuned for exciting announcements as we establish our district as a leader in international studies.  Thank you to our Robotics Team from Parker High School led by Mr. Bob Getka and Mr. Tom Heiss, Kennedy Elementary School led by Mrs. Allison DeGraaf and now Harrison Elementary School led by Mrs. Jessica Grandt-Turke who keep us on the cutting edge of international education.

If you are ready for a challenging, rewarding and cutting edge career in education and its support programs, you are in the right district.

By the way, one of my 2014 resolutions is to continue to provide you with useful, informative and timely information in this blog.

Happy 2014. Let’s work together to make it the best year ever as we serve our community by educating every child. 

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