It’s finally here! After months of planning, discussion, challenges and collaboration, we are excited to welcome students back to New London Local Schools for the 2020-2021 school year. It goes without saying that this summer break has been quite different than any other in our memory. While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the landscape of public education, it will never change our vision, guiding principles and core values – to provide the best possible atmosphere for students to learn, grow and thrive. I know that I speak on behalf of our entire staff when I say that we are ready to make this vision a reality, each and every day. There will be obstacles and there will be uncertainties. We are ready for these challenges and we will meet them head on.
There are several important initiatives that will remain on the forefront of our planning and implementation efforts this school year. We are excited to introduce the Leader in Me program across the district. Leader in Me is an evidence-based, comprehensive school improvement model that empowers students to develop the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. Our focus on the development of student self-agency and decision-making will be strongly supported by the program, and we are excited to witness the many benefits that our students will realize over the course of the school year.
It’s no secret that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education has become a major focus of K-12 education, and rightfully so. Here at New London, we will be expanding STEM programming via the implementation of a district STEM coach and will drive forward in hopes of receiving an official STEM designation from the state. The designation would provide extended opportunities for our students, most notably in the advancement of problem-based learning. Our students will greatly benefit from new and advanced programming, allowing for extended skills and deeper understanding of concepts that will help them remain competitive in a 21st century economy.
For the third consecutive year, we will continue to grow our 1:1 technology initiative, which places a Chromebook in the hands of every New London student in grades 3-12. Last spring, our familiarity with the 1:1 model allowed for a seamless transition to remote learning when schools were ordered closed in March. We look to take another step forward this year, allowing technology to be a transformative tool for our students, allowing them to really take control of their own education.
New London Schools health services department will continue to grow this year as we work to unveil extended safety protocols. Through a new partnership with psi, a state leader in educational and health services, we ensure that New London exceeds all of the latest safety, health and wellness guidelines regarding COVID-19.
I know that the 2020-2021 school year is sure to bring great successes. I am extremely proud of our students, staff members, families and community for their perseverance and flexibility over the past months. We will continue our efforts of transparency and proactive communication in the months to come.
I look forward to seeing you this fall.
Brad Romano, Superintendent
New London Local Schools