By Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Schatz
Last week I had a chance to visit with the teaching staff in our District at the Dome Opener. The main theme was “Building a Culture of Excellence.” In words, a theme for the school year captures a belief that EXCELLENCE is a goal to achieve; however, it is much more than just a word. It is a word that sets the trajectory for reaching a higher level of expectations in achieving this goal. “Excellence” is the goal, but it takes actions to make it happen.
Often times I hear people say, “I hope things will get better.” However, unless we do something to make it happen, it will not be achieved. The word “hope” can guide us as we redefine the culture of the District to ensure that individually and as a whole, EXCELLENCE is the trajectory of all our efforts. Excellence can only be achieved if it becomes the common language in everything we do. It is this common language that defines who we are as an organization. Imbedded in this word is a culture where no matter what the challenges we face as an organization, we reach for a higher level of performance. One of my favorite statements defines the end result of our efforts:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Supporting this statement are eight character strengths to guide you to achieve a higher level of EXCELLENCE. They include:
- Caring – Be considerate. Be compassionate. Express gratitude.
- Citizenship – Participate in making your school culture better.
- Critical Thinking – Clarify and set goals. Evaluate and analyze information. Actively participate to ensure that the learning environment in your classroom is the best it can be every day.
- Fairness – Be honest, just, and open minded. Act without favoritism or prejudice.
- Lifelong Learning – Accept and seek new challenges in learning both inside and outside of school.
- Respect – Honor the dignity, privacy, and freedom of all individuals. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Responsibility – Be accountable and accept the consequences for what you do and/or don’t do. Be self-disciplined. Think before you act. Set a good example for others.
- Trustworthiness – Be honest and do what you say you’re going to do.
As your Superintendent, I am committed to do my best to help you be your best. We live in a time where accountability for our actions is judged by the results we achieve. I challenge each of you to define what EXCELLENCE means to you for collectively it will be our destiny. Thank you for all that you do to make a difference in the lives of our students. Your efforts are appreciated and I wish only the best for each of you as we take this journey to reach high and redefine our School District as one of EXCELLENCE.