Students, Parents, Community Members,
In May of 2016, Lexington City Schools’ Board of Education held their annual retreat. The Board spent two days in focused conversations on our students, our curriculum, our instruction, our staff, and our practices. The leadership group unanimously agreed that the district’s guiding philosophy is:
Lexington City Schools Will Provide Equitable Opportunities For All Students.
Our overarching district goal is to provide our students and our community with schools that are both equitable and excellent. We aspire to build environments in our schools where virtually all students are learning at high academic levels. Throughout the United States, data indicate gaps and inconsistencies in the academic success, discipline referrals, and graduation rates of different segments of our society.
In Lexington City Schools, we are striving to build a culture in which there are no persistent patterns of differences in academic success or treatment among students grouped by race, ethnicity, culture, neighborhood, income of parents, or home language. As a district, we are monitoring data on achievement, growth, discipline, attendance, graduation, dropouts, enrollment in honors courses, EC and AIG, and representation in clubs and organizations. To insure that we are making progress in becoming a more equitable school district, our self evaluation efforts must be rigorous and ongoing.
To reach our goal we understand that everyone in our school system must care about all children, have high expectations for all children, and respect all children. We must build relationships, be empathetic, and communicate effectively. But, we must also follow our two guiding stars: excellence and equity. To help achieve our goals, all of our teachers are participating in an intensive professional development course to raise their awareness in the areas of race and poverty. We believe teacher training of this type has been long overdue in public education and holds the key to our future success.
Our introspective philosophy does not eliminate our students from their responsibilities. We understand that each student is an individual and has individual circumstances. But, we also know that we must help instill in our students a sense of work ethic, citizenship, grit, respect and creativity. These characteristics are as important as the academics we measure on our end of year tests. In the end, with significant support, our students must learn to become accountable for their decisions and their actions.
This year will also mark efforts by our individual schools to build new and deeper collaborations with our parents. We have worked hard previously to connect with parents. But, we believe these traditional activities, while meaningful, have not brought the deep collaboration that is needed to best support our children. As a school district, we understand that it is our responsibility to become more creative as we reach out to our diverse families. If we are to accomplish our school district goal of every classroom being equitable and excellent, it is going to take ourselves, our parents, and our community working in partnership, as one. And, we must hold each other accountable. We all need to expect nothing less.
As we begin this new school year, we ask that students, parents, and community members join with us as we continue to break down barriers that have traditionally not been broken down in public education. Help us become better for all students. We invite you to be a part of our team. Our children are our community’s greatest natural resource.
Superintendent, Lexington City Schools