Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Dan Goldman, Superintendent of Hood River County School District, sent this letter to District staff over the winter break:
I hope you are all enjoying the holiday break and plan to ring in the New Year tonight with the people you love. As we tick down the last hours of 2017, I want to thank each of you for delivering another calendar year of learning, caring and growth for our students. As a parent of children in our schools, I am grateful; as an employee, I am proud. Proud of our collective efforts, and proud of our results.
2017 brought improved district-wide state assessment results in literacy, math and science, improved student behavioral outcomes, increased on-time graduation rates, and more of our students — especially students of color — earning dual credit for college. Your excellence was highlighted not only in our local newspaper, but also in the Oregonian as HRCSD was one of only a handful of Oregon school districts recognized for substantive academic student growth. Great job, HRCSD Educators!
We should also be proud of advances we’ve made operationally. Again this year, we’ve reduced our transportation and operations footprints, created a more viable safety net for looming PERS rate increases, and reinvested resources closer to the classroom. Our average class sizes have again been reduced while increasing the number instructional assistants working with our students. We’ve also solidified our commitments to programs focused on closing opportunity gaps for our historically marginalized students (such as AVID, Juntos and recent work with school-based Equity Learning Teams). Importantly, yet less visible, these efforts have been accompanied by four consecutive “unmodified” audit opinions. Strong financial performance and integrity is exactly what bond rating agencies — and investors — look for, and a major reason our bonds sold at a significant premium on the market. Ultimately this means more resources and improvements in our schools — and it provides our community a high level of confidence that the school district is excellent stewards of public funds.
Improved student outcomes, streamlined operations, and excellent fiscal results! As we head into 2018, please accept my deep appreciation and gratitude for all you do to create the conditions for excellence in our schools! It’s meaningful, important work that I hope you are very proud of.