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In the Know: Moving forward together

It's hard to believe that summer break is half-way over and that we are gearing up for the 2018-2019 school year in Alexandria Public Schools. We are blessed to be able to provide incredible opportunities for our students through the amazing work of our staff, visionary leadership of our school board, and positive support of our parents and community members.

Over the summer, we take time to reflect on the three strategic initiatives that have been the cornerstones for the work of the district for the past few years. The three initiatives essentially keep us focused on what is important to meet our mission of every student learning, growing and succeeding and our vision of being an extraordinary district by working together. Our three focus areas center on student learning and engagement (We're Personal); effective programs and services to meet student needs (We're Comprehensive); and sound stewardship of resources (We're Responsive).

The administrative team and I, along with building leadership teams, fine tune action plans to help bring these focus areas to fruition. We will bring our 2018-2019 operational plan to the school board for a first reading at the July board meeting. Highlights of our work this year will be our innovation zone projects at Voyager, Garfield, Miltona, and Carlos; implementation of our Portrait of a Graduate plan that ties back to our Most Likely to Succeed work; conducting community demographics and long-term facility studies; and planning for long-term financial stability.

Our community deserves excellence in their public schools. As we strive to be a district that exemplifies excellence in all we do, it's imperative that we are intentional about creating opportunities to gather input and feedback from students, staff, parents and community members alike. Through the voice of all stakeholders, we can identify the key elements of success and together, create a sustainable plan that will carry us forward. There are various ways to be involved in the conversation:

• Attend Parent Advisory meetings at your child's school.

• Complete the community survey (fall timeline — random sampling of district patrons).

• Attend community conversations with the Superintendent (dates will be posted on the district website).

• Complete parent surveys (spring timeline).

It is through these feedback loops that we will take the Alexandria School District to new levels of excellence. Your voice is essential and your support is needed when it comes to meeting the needs of our students.

On September 4, the Alexandria Public School District's outstanding staff will welcome your student to the new school year. Across the district, from bus drivers to custodians, food service associates to administrative support professionals, principals to teachers, we are all committed to making sure our students are on the pathway to success. We are ready to work collaboratively to ensure that each child in our district receives the best education possible. I look forward to working with you to help us realize this vision for our students. Here's to a great school year!

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Julie Critz is the superintendent of Alexandria Public Schools. "In the Know" is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.

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