I hope each of you were able to find some time for rest and relaxation over the summer months. It is true that time seems to fly by these days. I recently realized that ten years have passed since an entire chapter in the book, Schools That Learn, was devoted to the accomplishments of Kentwood Public Schools!
This book focused on how cutting edge school systems around the country were beating the odds and providing outstanding educational opportunities. Kentwood continues to lead, grow and develop! Just as we challenge our students to have a growth mindset and grit, let’s continue to challenge ourselves to maintain educational excellence at the local, state, and national levels. I continue to be humbled by the impact that our staff and teachers have on the students in our district and community. The proof is in hearing about our graduates.
Many of you may remember former Kentwood student, Jordyn Castor, who faced challenges head-on her entire life. Jordyn, who has been blind since birth, has shattered expectations to become a leader in the tech world. At 22 years old, she is an engineer at Apple making technology more accessible for blind users. She spoke at a conference for the National Federation of the Blind and will continue to spread her inspiring story to others. "Blindness does not define you," Jordyn said. "It’s part of who you are as a person, as a characteristic — but it does not define you or what you can do in life." She is a prime example of how Kentwood students flourish as leaders, now and into the future.
As we prepare for another year of teaching and learning, I would like to highlight our themes for 2016-2017.
- Positive relationships and high expectations: Positive relationships with our students, parents and community provide the strength to meet high expectations and succeed in a global workplace.
- Global schools focused on excellence: Our students succeed on an international stage because Kentwood has a global perspective with a commitment to excellence in all that we do.
- A growth mindset and “Kentwood” grit: We rise above difficult circumstances and challenge ourselves to grow and learn by discovering our growth mindset and demonstrating grit to meet life’s challenges.
Our staff kick-off for the 2016-17 school year will be on Tuesday, August 30, 2016. On September 6, we welcome back our students for their first full day of school. The opening day agenda and the professional development activities for your first week back are included with this letter.
Thank you for your tireless commitment to our students and the entire Kentwood community. This dedication to educational excellence and service is what separates the excellent from the average. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or points of affirmation.
Together, let’s inspire students to face life’s challenges, both academically and socially, in the upcoming school year and in the years to come.