Providing students with opportunities to succeed every day is a core of our school district’s work. Identifying student needs and working collaboratively to meet those needs is fundamental to our purpose. Ensuring consistency from three levels of schooling and classroom to classroom is significantly challenging, but clear learning standards, or statements of what students should know and be able to do in very specific language, helps to diminish differences that are bound to exist from one school or teacher to another. Our responsibility is to help students to believe they are capable of success. We need to provide them with basic skills and help them apply those skills to very complex situations.
Essential components provide the basis of successful schools and school systems. These include curricula, which are the written roadmaps of skills and concepts our students need to succeed at their next level of learning; instruction, which is the application of creative strategies designed to help students to learn and understand the curriculum being taught; assessments, which are the tools teachers use to determine the extent of students’ learning; and evaluation, which is intended to provide an understandable measure of student progress.
For a long time, the entire system of educating our children has struggled to find a magic pill, one solution if you will, that will guarantee that educators’ work will result in student success. Despite understanding that the interplay between teacher, student, class content, physical setting, parents, classmates, friends, interests, distractions, and living day to day is an incredibly complex system, many continue to search for simple solutions. In Salem, we avoid chasing one solution after another and work to continuously improve the fundamental structures of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and evaluation. We realize that advances in science help inform better practices, techniques, tools, and opportunities. When appropriate, we pursue better understanding of these advances and try to apply them. We will continue to use a critical but creative eye to determine what’s best for the children and the community we serve.
We are guided by a mission statement and four strategic goals that influence our district’s direction and the way we think about our priorities. We want our children to advance through school with self-efficacy, a strong sense that they are capable of critical and creative thought and the ability to apply that thought to challenging circumstances.
Our mission states that we are committed to serving the citizens of Salem. The School Board, our administrative team, our professional staff, and the support staff are committed to realizing that mission. Our six neighborhood elementary schools, the middle school, and our high school, work together to ensure a quality educational program that offers every one of our children the chance to succeed every day. We all have to embrace our roles and responsibilities, but we can succeed in our efforts to provide the opportunities that our children and our community richly deserve.