This week has been one of extremes. No doubt you've heard about the issue at Orrs Elementary where a teacher, properly presenting a social studies lesson focused on the first amendment, improperly interjected personal views into the discussion with students. The debate surrounding the actions of NFL and other sports figures during the playing of the national anthem and the meaning of those actions has gripped the country. While this is an example of the debate over first amendment rights, it is also a current flash-point for emotions. As the teacher and principal confirmed in their letters of apology, interjecting the teacher's personal views into a classroom discussion was inappropriate. We need to be teaching our students how to find and synthesize information upon which they can form their own opinion. We need to teach respect even for those with whom we might disagree. In all cases, we need to deliver instruction objectively. Learning does take place in our classrooms every day. Of that, I am convinced.
We do have a lot to celebrate this week with the release of our 2017 graduation rate moving up to 81.5%! This is significant and should be the highlight news of the week. Our rate exceeds the state average by almost a point. I don't know when our graduation rate last exceeded the state average, but it did this year. Congratulations to all GSCS staff for the role you played in this accomplishment. Over the past two years decisions have been made to provide more opportunities for students to earn the credit needed to meet state graduation requirements. A focus on the individual educational needs of our students has led to better progress tracking and the development of graduation road maps. In other words, we are putting the student first which must be our top priority.
Congratulations, GSCS, on the outstanding accomplishment of having a graduation rate of 81.5%! It has taken work to get here and will take more work to build even higher results. But, I know you are up to the challenge and won't let distractions decrease your commitment. The students are the winners, thanks to you being agents of change. Have a great weekend!