Sept 7th, 2012
Thank you so much for having me, what an incredible place to start off the school year.
Listening to our other speakers and looking around at our attendees, I just want to say to all of you thank you for your deep commitment to our children. The fact that so many of you are here today and involved in this work is a testament to our shared determination to deliver the right kind of support for our students – so that every one of them has the tools and resources to succeed.
This new home to the Sandy Pioneers is an extension of that commitment. From your LEED Gold certification – ensuring energy efficiency, sustainability, and a healthy environment for your students and staff – to your new facilities that allow for the latest in career and technical education, including state-of-the-art agriculture, manufacturing, automotive technology, and CAD facilities.
And the state shares your commitment. We have set the ambitious goal of ensuring a 100% graduation rate by the year 2025. That’s our commitment to students across Oregon, that every single one of them will earn a high school diploma, one hundred percent.
I believe this is the hope and the key to building a more prosperous future for our state. And our students are in great hands, with some of the most talented teachers in the country.
For the first time, state policy and investment, school district budgets and school curricula, are aligned across the full education continuum – no longer separating early childhood development from K-12 from post-secondary education and training. It’s a recognition that education starts at birth and continues through college and career prep
The challenge is for us adults is to find the resources, the courage and creativity to take what is working best for some students, in some classrooms and schools and scale those practices for all students, in all classrooms across Oregon. It’s going to take all of us together, parents, teachers, businesses, government and even grandparents.
And while we will work together tirelessly to meet our goal for the class of 2025, you’ll also see changes in our schools this year.
• You’ll see it this year as 80% of our lowest performing schools meet the outcomes that will take them off our “priority” and “focus” schools lists.
• You’ll see it as the state and 100% of Oregon schools pilot new teacher and principal evaluation systems to increase teaching effectiveness in the classroom.
• You’ll see it with our renewed focus on literacy in our elementary schools; and science, technology, engineering and math in our middle, high and post-secondary schools.
• And you’ll see it in our strategic use of tutoring, giving increased attention to struggling students after school and during the summer.
You know, and I know, that there are no silver bullets in education. But we can look around us today and see a path forward that is shaped by the best thinking of our best educators.
So welcome back to school Sandy High. Your students join more than 650,000 elementary, secondary and post-secondary students this year who represent Oregon’s next innovators and entrepreneurs, its next generation of farmers and foresters, health care providers and public servants and possibly a governor or two. You are the source of my optimism for Oregon.
Have a great year!