Tuesday, at the Waterford School District’s annual convocation, Superintendent Jerome Belair did his best to pump up his staff, including channeling his inner Dorothy.
But yet what made his encouragement much more effective was not his exuberance or “Wizard of Oz” metaphor or musical accompaniment. Instead it was the raw, hard numbers.
This past year, Waterford High School students posted , which were top in Waterford’s District Reference Group (DRG), Belair said. What makes it even more impressive is the improvement, as Waterford went from 51 percent of students hitting proficiency in 2007 to 68.6 percent in 2012, which was exponentially better than the improvement in the DRG, he said.
“This is the result of not just the staff at the high school,” Belair said. “The entire district made it happen.”
Students take CAPT scores in the 10th grade. Waterford’s test scores all improved as students age, a sign that what the district is doing is working, Belair said.
“Let there be no doubt about it, we are a successful learning organization,” he said.
The convocation was held at , and the district’s entire staff attended. Along with an impassioned speech by Belair, Assistant Superintendent Craig Powers recognized new staff members and long-time staff members.
This Year’s Focus
Belair, for the second year in a row, said the focus of the school district would be literacy. If a student is a proficient reader, he or she has a good chance of succeeding in all aspects of academia, in life and on standardized tests, Belair said.
“Let’s face it, the (standardized tests) our students are taking are reading tests,” he said.
Then Belair invoked his favorite movie from his childhood, relating the district to “The Wizard of Oz.” Waterford is on the Golden Brick Road, and it needs to continue on the path to make it to the “promised land,” Belair said.
Honoring Long-Time Employees
Powers spent time honoring all the new staff members, all the staff members returning from leaves-of-absences and all the long-time staff members. Again, elementary school music teacher Sherry Stidfole and maintainer Clyde Ingram were honored as the longest-tenured employees, as both have worked in the district for 41 years.