Superintendent's Message


The Future Begins Today

Since I have come aboard as your new Superintendent, I am very aware that our greatest challenge will be to preserve and maintain the many aspects of the Babylon School District that have made us unique and successful, while at the same time confronting challenges that are unprecedented. We must give every child a world class education while working within numerous fiscal, legal and academic restraints placed on us from the outside.  

Thinking about our children's future is a little bit like stepping into The Twilight Zone. The child who enters kindergarten in September 2012 will graduate a 4-year college in the year 2030. He or she will compete globally, not locally, for jobs that do not even exist right now. Their workplace will be something out of Ray Bradbury, a place where even computers as we know them are obsolete, e-mail, CDs and DVDs are a thing of the past, and every bit of information is stored "in the cloud." It will be a world where cloud developers, search engine managers, time analysts and cyber diagnosticians will be in great demand.

Our children need a true 21st Century education. They must be globally aware, economically literate and "team players." This means that our instructional technology must be fully aligned and integrated within the curriculum. It means classrooms where students use technology to further their learning, and in which they are trained to be problem solvers, critical thinkers and innovators.

The author Daniel Pink said, "We must educate our children for their future, not our past." To that end, our children must learn to think and write independently, to gather evidence and make predictions, to evaluate sources of information and use data accordingly. To merely learn, memorize and repeat the things that were necessary for success in the year 2000 will be of little help to tomorrow's graduates and citizens.

 I know that the people of Babylon value education and expect that their schools will provide every child with a superior classroom experience. I expect this too. I also believe that parents and taxpayers have the right to know how their schools are performing and that open communication is mandatory. I realize that school districts are under a lot of pressure from Albany to meet unfunded mandates and work within a 2% tax cap, while still providing a quality education. We must find creative solutions to a set of circumstances never before seen. These are not just fiscal challenges; they also relate to how public education is perceived and administered, along with the overriding mission of preparing students for a world that we cannot fully envision.   

But we must also realize that we are educating the "whole child." A student is not just a test grade, a report card, a name on a list or a certificate. Every child to some degree is an artist, a poet, an adventurer, an athlete, a musician and an explorer; all children are curious, playful, dramatic, humorous and eager. If a college and career-ready graduate is our goal, and if we want every student to leave our high school confident and competent to take on the world after 2020, then we must support every child's quest for success.

Let us be mindful that while test scores are an important measure, Albert Einstein once noted "Not everything that can be counted, counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."

To this end, the summer has been spent in preparation of the arrival of our students and staff. It is also a time that teachers develop skills, complete coursework and otherwise hone their craft. This summer that effort took on different faces as the district prepared administrators and teachers to implement the new Annual Professional performance Review (APPR) and to write Student Learning Objectives (SLOs).

 Summer also offered unique opportunities to do some facilities work. Construction continues apace on the new science research lab in the high school. Smartboards have been hung in the elementary and grade school classrooms. We have hired a new Media Specialist who will not only act as librarian, but teacher trainer and instructional curriculum developer as well. And our classrooms and hallways have been cleaned spic and span by our own buildings and grounds and custodial crews. They take great pride in the work that they do and I would like to publicly commend them for caring as they do about our facilities and the quality of their work.  

In closing, I am happy and honored to have become part of the Babylon District. I have already learned that Babylon schools reflect the values and interests of the community whose name they bear. Babylon recognizes the value of education and supports the efforts of its schools.

On behalf of everyone in our schools I am proud to say thank you for that support and offer the assurance that we will continue our primary mission of educating and developing every child to their fullest potential.  I truly believe that we are in for a wonderful and highly productive year. I look forward to meeting you and your children, supporting you any way that I can, and joining in the celebration of your children's' successes.

Richard S. Rozakis
Superintendent of Schools