August 18, 2021
Dear TCIS Staff,
Welcome to the 2021-22 school year! I hope summer gave you and your family much needed time to relax, enjoy the weather and get away from the added stress of COVID- 19, distance learning and being both a caregiver, and at times teacher to your own children and family members! The opportunity to refuel over the summer is a necessary component of the important work that you do.
If it was any other year, I would be sharing academic data and talking about rigor, as well as talking about any new school policies or procedures, but unfortunately this is going to be a school year unlike any other. We are all trying to just recover from 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic. The threat of COVID and its variants is still very real and something that we continue to deal with at TCIS. In addition, to preparing our classrooms for teaching and learning, this year my priority as your Executive Director will continue to be on the health and safety of ALL students and adults while fostering a learning environment tailored to the professional growth of our educators and strong academic achievement for our students.
Clearly, the 2021-22 school year is a year of great ambition and promise. Rick Defour once said, “It is time we act with a sense of urgency, as if the very lives of our students depend on us, because, more so than any other time in our history, they do depend on us.” I know that we can meet the goals we set for our students and ourselves because we have a faculty and staff that believe in the promise of educational excellence. We know that we have work to do. Work that requires commitment, focus and collaboration and we know that we will succeed. That means that we will continue to analyze and strategically plan our entire day starting with arrival and dismissal, breakfast, lunch, recess, classroom setup, hallway expectations including procedures for visitors in the building and physical infrastructure to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in our school. We will identify what students need to know and be able to do by aligning standards, curriculum, instruction and assessment, analyzing student learning and adjusting when students already know the material and remediate and intervene when they haven’t yet shown mastery of essential skills. We will reflect on our own practices and learn from each other.
I am proud and honored to be able to be working with some of the best educators in the metro area and the state of Minnesota. The drive, passion and determination; underpinned by skill, knowledge and empathy, has been evident in the teaching and learning as we continue to raise progress and achievement levels despite the ever changing social learning and emotional needs that we are confronted with each year. As a team committed to continuous improvement, we are aware of areas we need to continue to develop, and through reflective practice, we address these both as individuals as well as through a whole staff approach.
This past year has been full of changes and challenges. Thank you to all who have continued to persevere on our learning journey. To those of you who are new to TCIS, we welcome you with open arms and hope you are ready to embrace and continue this journey with us. You are all an incredibly dedicated and hardworking team of education professionals. I appreciate your expertise and encouragement of all of the students and families.
As for myself and my administrative team, I would like to assure you that we will support your endeavors as you commit to doing whatever it takes to teach our students and ensure student learning. We will collaborate and assist you as much as we can in our PLCs, parent-teacher conferences, and peer-mentoring sessions.
That being said, I urge all of you (myself included) to strive to embrace a growth mindset this year and diligently teach from this premise rather than a deficit point of view or outlook. We MUST all strive to encourage our students to be life-long learners and motivate them to think critically with a positive view of the future and what it holds for each and all of us. Let’s model for our students, a socially acceptable language discourse and behavior that if they follow, will grant them success in the real world. The essence of education is to mold global citizens who are participatory in our democracy.
Thank you again for your commitment to the well-being and continued academic achievement of our students. It is my hope and desire that we will make this a great year and ALL of us will come out stronger as a community of learners.
I wish you all the best and I am looking forward to working together with you for a better academic year that allows us all to thrive and make a difference.