Superintendent's Blog: All Time Best
About a year ago we shared a new vision for Paducah Public Schools. Our vision was "To know each and every student by name and need." But any vision is meaningless if it is not embraced by the entire organization. I was excited to see our vision being lived out when I read a recent story in the Paducah Sun about our district's summer feeding program. One of our food service employees, Danna Myrick, talked about how she believes her work makes a difference for the children she serves.
Mrs. Myrick said, "You know what these kids' stories are, you watch out for them and help them along. I wouldn't ever do anything else; it's what I was called to do. We're keeping in touch with them and letting them know we're not just there during the school year, we're there for them no matter what."
This is a vision that is alive. What I appreciate about Mrs. Myrick's words is that it points us to the essence of our vision. The essence of "knowing each and every child by name and need" is the relationship - building relationships with our students, our families, and our community. I am encouraged that this vision is becoming the heartbeat of our district.
Recently we received a letter from a parent who was asking to transfer their child into our district. When asked to share the reason that they were requesting a transfer, they said “…we feel that our child will be more successful at your school as we appreciate your mission to know each and every child by name and need, which is not something we can expect at a larger school.”
Parents in our community are blessed with educational choices. Students can choose to come to our district, or they can choose to attend a different school. There are lots of options. I believe that when someone is trying to make that decision, they look at us and see 13.3 million dollars in offered scholarships for 183 graduates. They see ACT scores that are the highest we have ever had. They see a College and Career Readiness rate that is the highest we have ever had. They look at our AP passage rate, our Arts offerings, which are second to none, our extra-curricular activities, and our athletics.
All of those factors intrigue them but I don't think that's why they choose Paducah Public Schools. I believe that they choose us because of the relationships. It's the relationships they care about. It's the relationships that they hear about from their friends, their neighbors, and co-workers.
Each of us plays a part in building those relationships, each day, with every conversation and interaction. No matter what our role- whether we drive a bus, sweep the floor, serve a meal, coach a team, or teach a class, it's about the relationships we are building. When this vision is the heartbeat of our district, achieving our mission becomes easy.
You may be wondering why these things matter. Why do we want to build the relationships that flesh out the vision of knowing each and every child by name and need? Yes, we want our students to be successful academically. We want them to be college and career ready. We want them to be well rounded, able to think, problem solve, and work in diverse circles. But beyond the individual student, our greater goal is this: to build a better Paducah.
Our focus is on students, but it's larger than that- it's about how we are building a better Paducah. Many of our students graduate, but they don't stay here. That makes us a huge exporter of talent. We want to change that equation by working together to build the type of community and have the types of jobs that will make our graduates want to return here once they have gone to college.
Our board meetings will be traveling to our schools beginning in September. One of the questions we want to ask you is "How do we align our curriculum with the Paducah workforce needs?" We want to be sure that we are supplying Paducah with students who have the skills and knowledge to join us in the task of building a better Paducah. Please be thinking about this and give us your input. Together, we can build a better Paducah.