Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year in York School District One!
It is my honor and privilege to welcome you to the new school year! Whether you are a returning employee or are new to the district, I want to thank you for being part of our York School District One family! As I have shared with you previously, the sense of community and pride found within this school system is unparalleled. Collectively, the students, teachers, staff, administrators, families, community members, and businesses ARE York One! The power of that sense of community is fully realized when we join together – Connected As One – learning, serving, and giving.
The start of a school year is always an exciting time; we declare our schools officially open. With this declaration, there is a spirit of newness, opportunity, and commitment. I want to commit to each of you to give my best – every day. If the events of the past seven months have taught me anything, I know that we cannot afford to take time – our time to make a difference, our time to lead, our time to teach, our time to impact a child, or our time to be a wife (husband), a mother (father), a daughter (son) - for granted. We must seize each moment with the fervor of someone who understands the preciousness of time – of someone who yearns to gaze into the eyes of a loved one while holding their hand for another moment.
We are fortunate to work in a profession that affords us this new beginning each year. I look forward to this time of year because it allows me the chance to be a little better than the prior year. I would like to challenge you to embrace this new year as your opportunity to be a little better. And in order to be a little better, you must learn to take care of yourself. The adage, “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” is a myth. Each of you love teaching and love working with children; yet you work, and you work hard! Jennifer Moss, author of Unlocking Happiness at Work, cautions us, “When we equate the work we love with ‘not really working,’ it propagates a belief that if we love it so much, we should do more of it — all of the time.” This is not healthy nor realistic. I want to encourage you to adhere to the wisdom found within airline preflight directions: “Put on your oxygen mask first”. You are no good to others if you have not taken care of yourself. Likewise, your ability to serve others is enhanced when your needs have been addressed. We want you here for the long haul and are committed to helping you as you serve within the district.
Preparing to write this letter has proven to be more challenging than I anticipated. I am in somewhat of an awkward position in that if I were new to the district, I would be writing a little about myself and my family and what brought us here. Having been named Superintendent in January, on occasion, I ask myself if I am entering my first year or my second year in this role. I suppose when things are going well, I could say it is my second year and if things are not going so well, I can always say that I am new. There are, however, new happenings in the district that I want to share with you. This has been a busy summer, and I trust you will be as thrilled as I am with the following new accomplishments:
- We are welcoming 35 new employees to the district who bring with them a diverse range of experience, expertise, and passion. In a time when the education profession is struggling to retain teachers, YSD1 boosts approximately, a 95% certified retention rate. I am confident this is because of each of you – Connected as One – our YSD1 Family.
- We had no turnover this year among our administrative staff, and Mrs. Patricia Allen will be remaining with us as the Interim Director of Elementary Programs.
- We are actively addressing many of our safety and technology needs. In the spring, the Board of Trustees approved $6.5 million in funding for capital improvement projects. In addition to the traditional summer refresh, as part of the first phase of improvements, our maintenance and technology teams have been hard at work to install:
- a new video surveillance system in all buses;
- a new entranceway at York intermediate School;
- a new video surveillance system at Jefferson, Hunter Street, and Cotton Belt;
- a new intercom system at Jefferson, Hickory Grove Sharon, and York One Academy;
- a new roof at York Intermediate School;
- a new fire alarm system at York Intermediate;
- an infusion of over 600 new Chromebooks throughout the system;
- new HVAC systems Jefferson and Cotton Belt schools;
- new fan coil units at York Middle School; and
- a new digital hand-held radio system.
- We are launching a new Career and Technical Education program, Line Worker Certification, at Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center. In collaboration with Clover School District and York Technical College, we will provide our York and Clover students the ability to earn Utility Line Worker Certification, as well as, complete the coursework necessary for a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This is the first program of its kind in the state.
- We implementing the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) Training and the second phase of our I Love You Guys Standard Response Protocol (SRP).
In keeping with our current district vision, let us embrace this year with the goal of sparking potential and inspiring success within not only our students, but also within ourselves. As you begin the 2019-2020 school year, take time to consider your why. Why did you enter the profession that makes all other professions possible? There is a YouTube video that has received recent viral notoriety, and arguably for good reason. It is a Michael Jr. Break Time clip that highlights how knowing your why can powerfully impact your what. I would encourage you to take a minute to view it if you have not already done so at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZe5y2D60YU.
In conclusion, your Principals and supervisors have a busy week planned for you, filled with opportunities for fellowship, professional learning, and preparation. As you reflect on the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, seize each moment and consider your why. I look forward to seeing you on Friday morning, August 16, 2019 at 8:30 am in the YCHS Auditorium where we will all come together – Connected As One – to celebrate public education, each other, our students, and the beginning of a GREAT school year!
As a kickoff to our Learning, Serving, and Giving Together campaign, we will be collecting for our annual United Way Campaign. Please bring your spare change. Connected As One, we can make a difference.
Kelly Coxe, Superintendent