Learning in White River

This year, we will continue our intense and passionate focus on the learning of every student, and we will do this in a collaborative culture, emphasizing the work of our teams.  Teams will continue to focus intently on what students should learn, and monitor student learning every step along the way.  Importantly, we will ensure that students who struggle with their learning will receive focused and effective additional time and support. And, we will extend and enrich the learning of students who demonstrate proficiency.  We will do everything we can think of to ensure that every student is safe, every day, both physically and emotionally.  We will strive to make every student feel special, because they are! We will continue to view parents as our partners in their children’s learning, and will work tirelessly to earn the support and trust of the White River community.

I recently read a column written in November of 2011 by Jerry Brewer in the Seattle Times about the University of Washington volleyball coach, Jim McLaughlin. Even though the team was 15-1, Coach Mclaughlin changed their system.  Why? He changed it because he was committed to getting better.  Much like Coach McLaughlin, our emphasis in the White River School District next year will be simple--a razor sharp focus on getting better.  We cannot rest on our laurels, on how far we come, and on all that we’ve accomplished.  As appreciative and proud as I am of the White River School District, I know we can and we must continue to get better.

Our “getting better” will be the result of a persistent, focused, collaborative analysis of student learning data.  Jerry Brewer pointed out that Coach McLaughlin didn’t change everything.  He emphasized the fact that Coach McLaughlin is a data guru, constantly making focused changes that were the result of exacting analysis of what was taking place during games, point-by-point, position-by-position.  Like Coach McLaughlin, I am committed to improving, both personally, in how I do what I do day-in and day-out, and throughout the district, school-by-school, team-by-team, classroom-by-classroom, student-by-student, and skill-by-skill.  This commitment defines the White River School District!

My commitment to getting better is heightened by the fact that I have completed my first year as your superintendent.  I cannot overstate how much I appreciate and honor the trust placed in me.  I am extremely proud of our administrators and staff. Each and every one of our students is important to me, and I deeply appreciate our parents who entrust us with their children each day.  We are also blessed to have the support of the entire school board.  The leadership they provide for this district is exemplary. 

I hope you can tell that I am excited and raring to go, and I hope you share this sense of excitement, too.  This is going to be a fantastic year for our district, and most important, for our kids!  We are going to have more students learn more than ever before!  So, let’s roll up our sleeves, put a smile on our faces, and get going.  This is going to be great. I can’t wait!  I am so glad we “get to” be educators in White River!

Janel Keating

White River School District Superintendent