Dear Northridge Family,
As we enter the 2021-2022 school year, the Northridge Local Schools are working diligently to understand and meet the needs of each and every child we serve. Despite the ongoing pandemic and the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead, we continue to learn, grow and adapt as we overcome each and every obstacle in order to maximize student success. I wanted to take just a few moments to share some of the key elements of our back to school plan for the coming year.
First, we will continue to focus on social emotional learning and the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. These skills will be embedded in our classrooms and emphasized throughout our districts in order to enhance student and staff wellbeing and maximize success. Mental health and prevention experts are also available within our building in order to meet critical needs and promote health and wellness amongst students and staff.
We will also focus on literacy across all grade levels and content areas. Literacy is far more than the ability to read and write basic text. Rather, literacy is the ability to read, write, speak, listen, and think in order to learn, communicate, and make meaning of increasingly complex print and online texts. Literacy and content specific learning go hand in hand. If a student struggles as a reader or writer, it is nearly impossible to succeed academically. This continued emphasis on literacy will be coupled with specific, targeted intervention for struggling readers to ensure all students find success.
According to research, students rise to the level of expectation. In fact, a teacher’s “estimate of student achievement” continues to be one of the biggest influences on student learning. In other words, a teacher must expect and believe that all of his/her students can and will master grade level standards (even in the midst of a pandemic) and facilitate a classroom that reflects and supports those high expectations. As a result, we will espouse high levels of expectation and belief for all so that students learn, grow and achieve at even greater rates.
The power of belief is another critical point of emphasis this school year. Some may see this as simply a cliché, but research decisively indicates that “collective efficacy” is one of the top influences on student achievement. Collective efficacy refers to a shared belief that school staff can and will have a positive impact on student achievement – despite other influences in the students' lives that may challenge their success. While this pandemic may have shook us at our core, we will never stop believing that we have the power to make an incredible difference in the lives of our students!
As we learn even more about the specific learning gaps and deficiencies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will also emphasize mastery of “essential learning standards” within each grade level and subject area. Essential learning standards are a subset of all learning standards that our staff has determined to be most important for students to learn and master for both current and future success. For now, we must be laser focused on ensuring all students master these essential standards in order to close learning gaps and ensure all students find success.
The final component of our pandemic plan focuses on parent and community engagement and partnerships. Clearly, we cannot succeed or thrive on our own. Instead we must continue to collaborate and rely on our partnerships with YOU … parents/guardians, faith-based organizations, local business and industry, the Northridge Community, Harrison Township and all who contribute greatly to our ability to identify, understand and meet the academic and holistic needs of our students. Thanks to you all, our supporters and partners … together we will!
In closing, I would like to encourage each and every one of us to focus on the positive even during these uncertain times. Research supports that positive thinking leads to better health and better outcomes. Let’s fully embrace the wisdom found in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, think about these things.” May God richly bless us all on the journey ahead!
With care and thanks,
Northridge Local Schools
2008 Timber Lane
Dayton, Ohio 45414