Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, once said, “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” I couldn’t agree more. As another summer has past and another school year is ready to begin, I think of the awesome responsibility it is to educate the students of this great community and prepare them to become educated, productive citizens. I also think of all the great work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure our students receive a world-class education. A lot of planning has happened over the summer, and I would like to take a moment to update the community on what we have been doing to prepare for our students’ first day on August 22.
We are now in the second year of the District’s Connecting Aviators: Our Children, Our Community strategic plan. Last year, we began the implementation of 34 of the 43 strategic actions outlined in the plan. This year, we continue all 34 initiatives and add another seven initiatives to continue with the implementation of the Connecting Aviators plan. There will be a strong focus in our goal areas of stakeholder engagement, promoting local governance, and maintaining a facilities plan, and we will continue the work in the goal areas of sustained academic excellence and hiring, developing, retaining staff talent.
Safety and security is an area that was not explicitly part of our current strategic plan. However, we have taken a strong stance on this area over the last year, and particularly the last five months. The administration and board have put a significant emphasis on making our buildings safer and more secure. Many security projects have been completed over the summer that has strengthened the security infrastructure of the buildings in the district. Further, you might have already heard; the Board recently approved a contract with G2G, LLC., to provide an armed safety officer in each school building for every day of the school year. We value each life entrusted to our care and want this partnership to assist us in providing our students, staff, and visitors with a safe environment. We believe in order to properly and most effectively educate our students; we must first ensure a safe place in which to teach and learn.
As we are just days from the first day of school, students and staff are already active throughout the district, and we are working on the final preparations for the start of another fantastic school year. As I reflect on the past week, I think about the Chamber of Commerce Executive Board meeting I attended, the new staff orientation which included a bus tour of the City and Township, and a Rotary Executive Board meeting. It is ever apparent that our district has strong support from the community and that our community embodies the quote above.
The 2017-2018 was an incredibly successful year for the district with students excelling in the classroom, in extracurricular activities, athletics, and clubs they participate in outside of the school day. We honored students last year each month for exceptional achievements through the Aviator Achievement Award. Students were awarded for winning 4-H Speech contests, awards at the State Fair, athletic state participants (including a STATE CHAMPION), heroic actions in the community, and the list goes on. It is apparent we have great students in our district. I cannot wait to see the achievements that we honor and recognize in the 2018-2019 school year.
Parents, thank you for entrusting your students to us. Students, we can’t wait for you to arrive. It’s going to be a great school year. – We Are Aviators!
Rob O’Leary is the Superintendent of the Vandalia-Butler City Schools. Reach him by email at email@example.com or (937) 415-6415.