It’s been a long, difficult road to get to this point, from the “black days” of misunderstanding and bitter arguments about what was right or wrong with Bethel schooling. That was years ago. Time has allowed us to develop teaching expertise and solidify our vision of what education should be in our town. We accomplished this while pushing everyone to do more with less.
The Board of Education needs unwavering support as we take on the inevitable new challenges in the months and years ahead. We have come a long way and cannot go back to the days of argument and mistrust. If we tip backwards it will no longer be just about making the wrong decision for our high achieving School District. Backsliding would be costly to our children’s educational development.
We are about to be held to higher standards and new emerging expectations by the State and Federal Government. The cost and impact of not continuing our current level of educational quality could have implications that may well be out of our control. Forced course correction at some later time to meet the new standards would cost far more than simply staying the course and building upon our current levels of achievement and progressive thinking. The bottom line may be, waver now in support of our schools and pay more in the long run.
The people of Bethel are proud of their schools and proud to say their children are being educated in Bethel. Realtors view Bethel schools as an asset. They use our educational quality to sell homes.
It is imperative that we continue our vision’s journey to keep Bethel a high performing, high achieving School District. There is still more work to be done in reducing the achievement gaps that persist among our most vulnerable students.
Forces and initiatives are underway in CT, many beyond our control, that will dramatically change education for the better. Most of what we are hearing will be terrific for students and for the prosperity of our Town, state and nation.
Know that Bethel is in a far better position than many other school districts to deal with the impending changes. However, without the full support of the Board of Finance, the Board of Selectmen, and taxpayers, what lies ahead for our School District, will be difficult. Playing catch up is always more costly than being on the leading edge, a place where Bethel is acknowledged to be.
The Board of Education has provided information that helps the Board of Finance understand the challenges we face in an environment that puts more and more responsibility on schools for student success.
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith has described the changing landscape of education, as we know it today. It includes higher academic standards and greater results expectations for all grade levels, Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Our school system must be prepared in every area (instruction, curriculum, intervention, professional development, and technology) to meet these new expectations.
Bethel graduates need to leave High School ready to compete at any level, at any time, against anybody in the highly competitive 21st century. Parents, guardians, school children and taxpayers expect us to work together. We know you cannot support what you don't understand. We look forward to the opportunity of answering your questions as you deliberate our proposed budget.