Dear RCS Community,
What do you want for your child and from your child’s school? We have spent a year asking this question at various times and in various ways. Your stories, your input, and your children have inspired us to shape a strategic plan for success during the 2018-19 school year. We heard your voice through the RCS Customer Service Survey, through various community forums, and by listening to your thoughts during open houses, parent conferences, or Bring Your Parent to Physical Education (PE) Day. In alignment with our district core values, you have asked for:
- Programs that foster student engagement through mentoring and internships, along with instruction that is aligned with the standards, student interest, and the needs of the modern world…thus creating students that exercise their curiosity (inquiry) and learn to take ownership for their own success by contributing to the development of rigorous goals.
- Collaboration with the community that will build long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships…thus creating students that will think beyond the classroom and become active participants of the world through field trips, volunteerism, youth employment, and internships.
- Students that are future ready by possessing the knowledge and skills needed to face the challenges of the workplace and the world with resiliency…thus creating students that develop a personal vision for their success with the needed skills and perseverance that will enable them to take risks, endure, achieve and succeed.
- Schools that protect the physical and emotional safety of children by increasing security and educating students about self-awareness, compassion for others (empathy), and conflict resolution…thus creating children that are happier, healthier, and self-reliant.
Your voice has been heard! How are we going to do what you have asked us to do? Here is a partial list of initiatives that have been established through the instructional and budgetary development for 2018-19, most of which were accomplished by reallocating existing resources:
- Increased instructional technology staffing by 50%
- Created two new Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) teaching positions
- Increased the budgetary allocation for focused professional development on student engagement practices
- Increased student enrollment in Career and Technical Education Programs
- Increased the budgetary allocation for field trips
- Increased mentoring and business partnerships through the RCS Business Association and STARS
- Implemented K-12 Counseling curriculum that embeds career awareness and exploration
- Developed “Reach out Rooms” and “Operation Graduation” at the high school for academic/behavioral support
- Developed “Restorative Circles” program at our middle school for behavioral support
- Installed updated security systems and procedures at the entrances to the MS and HS (Elem. = 2019)
- Hired a second School Resource Officer
Your children deserve the best education in New York State. RCS has the capacity to deliver this and, with your ongoing involvement in our improvement process, we will deliver the best education in New York State. In September of 2017, we set forth with the goal of raising the district graduation rate 2%. I am proud to report that we surpassed that goal by raising the graduation rate by nearly 4%: 90% graduation rate for RCS high school students and 86.9% for all students, both in and out of district placements. Over the past eight years, RCS has climbed from being ranked 51st out of 82 schools in the Albany Business Review to being 35th out of 82. For the sake of our RCS children, we need to continue to set high standards and climb to better outcomes. I am very excited to share this task with you this year.
Welcome back to RCS, the “Home of the Habits of Scholarship!”
Brian Bailey, Ed.D., @superrcscsd