A new school year

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 12, 2004

Welcome to the 2004-2005 school year and what an exciting year it promises to be.

As we continue to grow, we will enjoy more and more opportunities to experience excellence.

Our fast growing school division is flourishing under the visionary leadership of our School Board and the continued support of our City Council.

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This strong leadership, by both bodies, resulted in significant pay increases for all employees.

This strong leadership has also provided program support for our technology efforts, the restructuring of

Special Education, expansion of several academic programs including Career and Technical Education, and our outstanding online testing program, just to name a few.

Last year, we saw our membership top 13,000 students and there is every indication that this growth will continue.

Like last year, we have hired more than 100 new teachers.

Many of these new hires are new positions.

Some were hired to accommodate growth, some were hired to meet new state mandates regarding class size, and some of these new positions are to help staff the new King’s Fork High School.

This award-winning school opens this fall with more than 1,200 students.

I am sure the &uot;Bulldogs&uot; of King’s Fork High School will enjoy the same level of support you have provided to all of our other schools.

I offer my gratitude to all of my staff and parents for the success we experienced during the 2003-2004 school year.

While much is yet to be done, much has been accomplished.

We have made tremendous progress in our testing programs.

Twelve of our eighteen school achieved full accreditation last year. The remaining schools have made substantial progress towards full accreditation and I expect they will achieve this goal during this school year.

I know the success we experienced was the result of the hard work of our teachers, administrators and support staff performed last year.

The time they spent coordinating curricula, writing test items, tutoring, and participating in staff development has paid dividends in the form of success for our students.

While much has been accomplished, much has yet to be done.

We still have six schools we need to get accredited.

We still have No Child Left Behind’s many underfunded mandates.

We still have the challenges of growth.

Yet I continue to be confident of our success.

I am confident because of the strong community support and involvement.

I am also confident because of the work ethic, the love for children, the dedication to our profession and the strength of character I have seen demonstrated by the employees of Suffolk Public Schools.

This summer, all of our administrators read a book by Jim Collins titled Good to Great.

We began discussing it at our summer retreat.

I want to share no just one thought from its pages: &uot;Good is the enemy of great.&uot;

We have the potential to be a great school system.

We will reach our greatness potential because we will not settle for &uot;pretty good&uot; or &uot;good enough.&uot;

With your help, we will be great.

Milton R. Liverman is superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools.