Message from the Superintendent

March 2016

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.  The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. 

                                                 Carl Jung, M.D., Swiss Founder, Analytical Psychology

Each month, this message is highlighting one of the eight core strategies outlined in our district’s strategic plan.  This month’s focus is a key component of Core Strategy #8: Student Safety and Well-being, with a look at how we provide a safe and nurturing environment that encourages student engagement and individual ownership of learning.

Encouraging the Heart

The best educators create a positive atmosphere in their classrooms and schools.  Effective teachers treat every child with respect, every day.  I have the opportunity to participate in conversations with educators throughout our district and observe them in action on an ongoing basis, and I continue to be struck by the high regard our teachers have for taking care of the unique needs of each child in their classrooms.  They do this by celebrating the gifts each student brings, challenging that child to rise to his/her potential, and embracing the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

Supporting Student Well-being

Throughout this year, each school has made it a priority to strengthen and articulate the ways we support student well-being, specifically, how children are supported in the development of these critical student behaviors: self-directed learner, community contributor, complex thinker, quality producer, effective communicator, and effective and ethical user of resources/technology. 

As we focus on student well-being, we are constantly engaged in targeting clear standards/outcomes, expecting the best, celebrating progress, and personalizing recognition. We know the importance of the human connection. Children are much more likely to experience success in school and develop a commitment to working toward goals when they have positive human connections with adults and peers.  Students who continue the quest in the face of adversity have likely seen this quality modeled by the adults in their lives.

Are high expectations important?

It is safe to assume we all agree it is important for teachers to have high expectations for their students, and our DMUSD teachers do.  What is very clear is that our DMUSD teachers have even higher expectations for themselves. Our teachers focus on their own performance as teachers and continuously challenge themselves to be better; they set even higher expectations for themselves today than they did yesterday. This culture of high expectations, coupled with a commitment to taking care of the human side, creates the ideal environment where children thrive.

Safe Schools

Our top priority is providing a safe place for our children and staff to learn and grow each day. We work with local law enforcement and safety experts, who provide input on best practices.  The steps we continue to address include measures to control access to our schools, ongoing staff training, and crisis training via routine and varied drills. Our commitment to school security and preparedness is front and center in our actions and priorities 

Fast Forward to the Future

It is our responsibility to help our students envision a promising future that is full of challenge and rewards. It is also our responsibility to provide a school experience that prepares each child with vital academic skills and behaviors crucial for navigating future society.  As we prepare our students for greatness, the differentiating variable is our connection with our students – showing them every day that we genuinely care about each one inside AND outside the classroom. 

What made the difference was the vision of how things could be and clearly painting this picture for all to see and comprehend. 

                                                       Mark D’Arcangelo, Hitachi Semiconductor America


Holly McClurg, Ph.D.


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