Our Hanover and Norwich students, teachers, administrators and support staff have made this past year another typified by outstanding academic, athletic, and artistic performance. While it may be tempting to rest on our reputation for exceptional educational outcomes, many within our school community have worked to find other ways to expand our understanding of “success.” In a variety of ways, members of our school community have worked to ensure that our students appreciate their education not only as a pursuit of individual accomplishment, but also as preparation for active participation in society.
Examples of this broader sense of educational purpose from this past year include Hanover High School and Richmond Middle School students leading and participating in peaceful demonstrations of support following the tragic events last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Richmond Middle School students participated in programs designed to counter bullying, and to respect diversity. Council’s efforts to work with our Dresden School Board to incorporate community service in our high school program is another effort to highlight our interconnectedness and to deepen our students’ school experience.
At the elementary level, The Ray School has initiated an outdoor kindergarten experience that will give students the opportunity to learn interdisciplinary content while exploring their natural environment. At Marion Cross, fifth-grade students are learning the power of their collective voice to educate adults even as they take action to eliminate non-recyclable food packaging from their lunch program.
I share this information to illustrate ways that we can improve an already high-performing school system. By all conventional state and national educational benchmarks, our schools perform at the top. This is no surprise given the high value our community places on learning, and the generous support our residents provide for our schools. Nevertheless, we can be better. We can continue to teach our children that their education is more than grades on a report card, or acceptance letters from impressive colleges. We can continue to grow our programs in ways that prioritize the common good as well as individual prosperity.
Finally, this year has also been marked by transition. As we finish the 2018-19 school year, two of our exceptional school leaders will be moving on. Marion Cross Principal Bill Hammond will be retiring, and Richmond Middle School Principal Mike Lepene will follow his passion for teaching back to the classroom. Both of these kind and accomplished school leaders will be missed, but we wish them well as they move on to their next adventures. We will also bid farewell to both Bruce Duncan and Jona Roberts as they retire from service as Hanover, Dresden, and SAU 70 school board members. We are grateful to them for generously sharing their time, talent, and expertise for many years.
Even as we say goodbye to our friends and colleagues, we look forward to welcoming their successors into our larger school community, and to joining all of you in our continuing efforts to best educate our Hanover and Norwich children.
Superintendent of Schools