Dear Watertown Families,
It is a great pleasure to welcome both our returning families as well as those who are new to our district to a new school year. The start of the school year represents an opportunity for us to be reenergized by our students’ sense of wonder and anticipation and, even after more than 20 years in education, I still get excited about the new students, new materials, new lessons, and new ideas that another school year always brings!
We have made great strides over the past twelve months with our district strategic planning process, culminating with a complete District Improvement Plan, which the Board of Education approved this week. The District Improvement Plan, which serves as a roadmap for the future direction of our school district, was written with the valuable input and diligent efforts of our teachers, administrators, staff members, students, community members, and parents/guardians. The Plan contains three major components: the Vision of a Watertown Public Schools Graduate, which specifies the skills and abilities students should possess by the time they graduate from Watertown High School; the Strategic Plan 2022, which focuses upon on long-term goals as well as concrete action steps to achieve those goals; and the Continuous Growth Plan, which focuses upon plans for our facilities, systems and operations, and budget and resources. I am excited and proud to share more specific information about the District Improvement Plan with families at our schools this fall, and for more information, or to view the plan as a whole, please see the District Improvement Plan section on our district website.
We are so fortunate in the Watertown Public Schools that one of our district’s greatest assets is the dedicated staff who work tirelessly to develop innovative lessons that move students from passive receivers of information to active participants in their own discovery process. Our staff is not solely focused on academic growth and improvement, but they are committed to promoting the long-term social/emotional development and success of all children. I am eager to work with the new employees who are joining our team this year and grateful for the wisdom and experience of our veteran staff.
During the past school year, I witnessed time and again that our students (PreK-12th grade) are capable of leading, passionate about serving their community, invested in the growth and improvement of their schools, and willing to take ownership of their learning. Our students recognize the importance of striving for excellence, and I have been honored to witness the fruits of their labor. From statewide athletic championships to national academic honors, our students have showed that they are acquiring the skills needed to be successful in college or the career of their choice. To ensure students continue to play a significant role in the growth of our schools, 24 high school students served on and contributed wonderfully to the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC). As a SSAC member, students shared their voices on a variety topics and worked to create evidence-based solutions for specific issues that are important to them and to the district during monthly and bi-monthly meetings.
As we journey into the 2019-2020 school year, I will be working closely with our students, teachers, families, administrators, staff, community, with the consistent support of our Board of Education, to put into action all of steps found in our District Improvement Plan, which will guide our work carefully for the next three years. I look forward to deepening connections with our returning families and building strong partnerships with those who are new to Watertown Public Schools. Be sure to check our district website for announcements, scheduling information and frequent updates: www.watertownps.org, and download our district app, Watertown Public Schools – CT. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @RydellEdLeader for updates throughout the year.
As we begin another year together, I am so proud to serve as your Superintendent of Schools, and I am looking forward to growing and collaborating together as we head into the 2019-2020 school year. On behalf of the incredible team of educators and support staff who serve the children of the Watertown Public Schools, thank you for putting your faith in us to provide your children with a world-class education. We look forward to working with you throughout the year to ensure the success of all of our students.
Thank you for your continued support of our schools and our students.
Rydell Harrison, Superintendent of Schools