SPS Staff and Families:
It is hard to believe another school year is coming to a close. As I think back to Convocation, I asked you all to consider your, “Why Stamford?”. As you may recall, I shared personal stories of my experiences here to illustrate my, “Why Stamford?”. Now, many months later, I have even more stories to tell. But, the most important lesson learned from the 2019-2020 school year is that despite our challenges, Stamford is always willing to come together to problem-solve and work collaboratively on behalf of our students.
While we may not always agree on the “How” of addressing those challenges, we do however, attempt to identify the issue and commit to working toward a collaborative solution. Last fall, for example, we acknowledged that we need a long-term facilities plan to address our aging school buildings. Unfortunately, despite our community’s willingness to come together to discuss our options at countless public and city meetings, we have yet to resolve this issue. Yet, I remain encouraged by our ongoing open dialogue, an important first step.
Another example is high school Block Scheduling. Again, we all agreed that students needed some type of change to allow them to earn more credits; get practical experience through internships, work-study or community service; or enroll in college courses. Though we may not have initially agreed with “How” we were going to make that happen, it was the result of our willingness to come together to discuss options that made a marked difference in progressing toward a final plan.
My final example is the unprecedented demonstration of commitment that began on March 12, 2020, when we announced our students and staff would transition to Distance Teaching and Learning. I know the success of our response to this pandemic was a direct result of the dedication of our SPS staff, families and community partners, who came to the virtual table to assist us in developing, revising and improving our plans along the way.
My “Why,” gives me much hope that Stamford as a community will continue to come together to tackle the issues that lurk on the horizon. Together, we have already begun the hard work of developing a comprehensive plan for our Re-entry to School (Phase IV), for addressing underlying systemic issues of intolerance and inequity, and for determining how to manage the unprecedented $15 million cut to our Board of Education operating budget.
As I end my first official full-year as Superintendent of Stamford Public Schools, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support. While this is my final Weekly Message for the school year, please know I will be updating you regularly over the summer months.
Finally, in closing, I want to congratulate all of the members of the Class of 2020, all of our 5th and 8th graders moving up, as well as our staff who are retiring. Although this is not how any of us imagined you meeting this life milestone in Stamford Public Schools, it does not diminish how very proud we are of each and every one of you. Congratulations, and enjoy the next phase in life, you deserve it!
And to all, enjoy your summer break. Please stay safe and healthy!
Dr. Tamu Lucero
Stamford Public Schools