A Message from Superintendent of Schools Richard S. Rozakis

What kind of education do the children of Babylon deserve? When your sons and daughters leave the house on their way to school, they are embarking on a new adventure. Their teachers are working hard to bring them fresh, exciting and interesting lessons. They are going to hear, see and experience things that may be brand new to them. They will be challenged to think analytically and solve problems. They will be asked to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.              

Your children are encouraged to work collaboratively, are challenged to question the source of information and to evaluate its validity. They read for information, and present arguments or explanations based on what they have read. They are asked to articulate well-informed opinions and to back their convictions with facts. They are constantly exposed to new vocabulary, which expands their use of the language. Every learning experience helps them connect and transfer ideas and concepts so what they are learning becomes the foundation for what they will learn tomorrow.               

What I have been describing is known as the Common Core Learning Standards, and they are the bedrock of a 21st century education. The Common Core prepares students to pursue lifelong learning, develop deep interests and habits of mind, and decipher from the overload of daily information those things which matter most, in order to live prosperous and enriched lives and remain informed citizens.   

This is the education that your children deserve - just as much as they deserve, and receive, a safe and supportive school environment, teachers who are talented and dedicated and administrators who care about them as individual people and not test scores. They also deserve a daily school experience that brings them that “aha!” moment of discovery and satisfaction that accompanies the completion of rigorous work. With that, they will get the guidance and support they need along the way.

I am ever mindful that we are educating the next generation of visionaries, innovators, artists and leaders. I am ever vigilant for new ideas that work to improve the educational experience of ALL children. I recently read in the Fall 2012 edition of Scholastic Administrator that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20.5 million new jobs will be added to the U.S. economy by 2020. Among these will be 3.5 million in health care, 1.4 million in design and construction and nearly one million in computer and information technology. Our students are already poised to have their pick of these careers because of the top-rate 21st century education they are receiving right now.

We are counting on parents and relatives to play a vital role in every student’s education. We need adults to have conversations that help young people develop well-informed opinions and critical decisions by using evidence and pursue their interests with knowledge and self-confidence. Encourage your children to read newspapers and magazines and to watch the news with you; then have discussions about the information they have seen and heard. Have serious dialogues about what sites your older children visit on the Internet and what they are learning from these visits. Ask your children every day, “What did you learn in school today?” and do not accept the standard, “Oh, nothing” as an answer. Ask students why they think what they’re learning is important and help them make connections between school and life.

     Lastly, celebrate your children’s’ successes, large and small. Children should be congratulated for learning something new, for trying something outside of their comfort zone and for applying themselves to their work every day. Tell them how proud you are of them. They deserve it.