My first week as Interim Superintendent was unique, and not just because of Covid 19. Returning after seven years was reassuring because I found the district to be in good shape. It was also nice because of the people who work in the district. They make my work easier because they are so good at their jobs. And the new people I have met seem very competent as well.
Still, returning was different. Due to a decline in birth rate and population mobility we have 600 fewer students than when I came to Stockbridge in 1994. Staff numbers are 65% of those when we were at the peak of our enrollment. We also have fewer buildings now that the middle school, Katz, and Howlett are no longer in use by our school district.
I am pleased with the schools our students now attend. Our present three schools are well designed and well matched to our student and staff needs. It was not always so. I have appreciation for each school board member who served our community over the last 25 years. Appreciation for the foresightful way they have planned to ensure that our school buildings and instruction remain current with the times.
As Interim Superintendent my job is to maintain stability until the school board chooses a new superintendent. That process is set to start in January.
To be a successful Interim I need help from our community with two major things. The first is patience during this unprecedented strangeness as we manage Covid 19 in our schools. The second is to keep students in their masks when they are with their friends in and out of school.
Our ability to deliver quality instruction is closely related to student exposures and infections. Our health department defines exposure as 15 minutes of contact six feet or less from a person who has tested positive. Masks, distancing, and hand washing are not only effective in slowing the spread, but they are primary tools to help us maintain student and staff safety.