WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. and#8212; All of us share a common concern with the education of Nevadaand#8217;s children, whether or not we are parents ourselves. These young people will be entrusted with the future of our state and our nation, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure they are well-educated and prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.
As your new superintendent of the Washoe County School District, I have the honor of overseeing the education of 63,000 students in our district, and it is a responsibility I do not assume lightly. I was the first in my family to graduate from high school and college, and I am well aware of the transforming power of education. In the course of my own experience in school, I saw children fall by the wayside when they dropped out of their classes, never to return. At the time, I only knew that the number of my fellow classmates was dwindling dramatically and#8212; from 700 in my freshman class to 170 in my senior class. As an adult, I can only wonder what their contributions could have been had they been provided with the support they needed to find success in school.
Providing support for all students and raising our graduation rates are two of our most important and immediate goals. But we know that simply receiving a diploma is not the ultimate definition of success for our students. We must also ensure that they graduate well-prepared to study at the college level or ready to embark on a highly-skilled career. Only then can we say that we have succeeded in giving them the best possible start in life. Only then will we have truly moved to the next level of public education in Washoe County.
These are our goals, and they are goals we can reach together. Just as the education of a single student requires the combined efforts of teachers, parents, and counselors, the success of a school district requires the efforts of the entire community and#8212; school staff members, civic groups, business leaders, legislators, and organizations. But first, the district and community must know what roles they want to play in this campaign for excellence. In order to succeed, everyone must be open and honest in communicating their concerns, questions, plans, and goals for the future.
I well understand the importance of good communication, and beginning on my first day as superintendent, I embarked on a series of community meetings and#8212; and#8220;Connecting With the Superintendent.and#8221; At schools and community centers across the district, I have been privileged to meet and speak with hundreds of people who have graciously taken the time to bring their questions, concerns, and suggestions to us. I am learning a great deal from your input, and that input will serve all of us well as we move forward together. Long after this series of meetings is concluded, this outreach effort and#8212; this two-way communication and#8212; will continue because it is crucial to our success.
There is so much to celebrate about the progress of the Washoe County School District; our graduation rates are on the rise, and more of our students are achieving their goals in the classroom. Our commitment to excellence has never been stronger or more focused. But our work is far from over, and we will achieve real success only with the commitment of the entire community.
As part of my 90-day entry plan, my goal is to listen to our community and learn from the input I receive. Ultimately, I want to lead the Washoe County School District to unprecedented successes. Working as a team with our gifted and committed staff members, parents, and the community at large, this is not only possible, it is assured.
My own experiences as a student have helped shape my philosophy as superintendent. While I cannot forget my own classmates who left school far too soon, I can help assure that children in Washoe County do not follow the same path or suffer the same fate.
The young people who spend their days in our classrooms and#8212; and the society they will serve later in their lives and#8212; deserve no less than our total support and commitment. I invite you to join us as we move forward together toward excellence on every level in the Washoe County School District.
and#8212; Pedro Martinez is superintendent of the Washoe County School District.