Dear Medford Community:
After serving for one year as your superintendent, I am more excited than ever about the terrific things that are happening in our district and about the potential that remains to be tapped. Our district can take pride in many noteworthy assets, the foremost of which is our people. We have great kids, great families, great community members and great staff members. We are poised to take the next steps toward becoming the “Premier School District in Oregon!”
This past school year I visited each of our schools at least three times, as well as visiting most of our classrooms. Again and again, I witnessed the commitment and compassion our staff have for our kids. Our entire staff genuinely care about the students and know and appreciate the importance of the work we are doing every day on behalf of children and families. In addition, our staff respect and value the contributions that each colleague makes to the district and its students.
The district underwent substantial change in 2014-15. We reorganized the central office cabinet and hired four new principals, three new assistant principals, over 70 teachers and a significant number of classified and support staff. We are continuing to refine internal systems to better serve schools, and we have begun the process of implementing several strategic initiatives, including Full-day Kindergarten, Medford Prep Academy (8th to 9th grade transition), Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-engineering, High School Pathways, Elementary Class Size Reduction, and Medford Afterschool Programs (MAS) at Roosevelt, Washington and Howard.
As we transition and press forward, we must reflect on our goals and continue to have the courage and wisdom to challenge ourselves to improve. Together we must strive to:
- Work with our families and the community to ensure that our young children are entering our district “Kindergarten Ready!”
- Implement our new full-day kindergarten program to ensure that ALL students receive a sound academic base and solid start on their academic and developmental educational journey.
- Ensure that ALL students read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
- Ensure that ALL 6th graders are academically prepared for middle school and have at least a general idea of their own interests and aptitudes.
- Ensure that ALL 8th graders are academically prepared for high school and have a full understanding of the high school pathways, course credits, testing requirements and what it takes to be college and career ready.
- Ensure that ALL 9th graders acquire at least 7 credits, choose a pathway of their choice and affiliate with at least one co-curricular organization.
- Ensure that ALL 10th and 11th graders progress through their chosen pathway, are exposed to high-level and rigorous course work, work toward becoming college and career ready and strive to understand all of their post-secondary options.
- Ensure that ALL 12th graders are college and career ready in that they complete a four-year pathway, earn dual college credits and/or an industry certification, meet the college-ready standards on a college entrance exam (SAT or ACT), apply to and are accepted by a college or other post-secondary institution and have a post-secondary plan.
- Most important of all, guarantee that we reach every diverse student and learner in our district to ensure that ALL students have access to every educational opportunity, are engaged and encouraged, and experience success in every program we offer.
When all of these steps in the PreK-12 ladder cohere, our student achievement, graduation rates and school rankings will inevitably improve. It will take all of us to accomplish these lofty aspirations. It will require hard work, focus, perseverance and time, yet I am confident that we have the staff, resources and the collective will to make it happen!
I am extremely excited about the possibilities we have in the Medford School District and look forward to continuing our trajectory to become the “Premier School District in Oregon.”
Thank you, and I continue to consider it an honor to serve the district and the entire community. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.
Brian T. Shumate, Ph. D.