Letter from the Superintendent

A Letter from the Superintendent
Posted on 12/03/2021
Dear families:

I learned two things early in my career as a young paraprofessional and future teacher. First, young people are always watching. The eyes of the future are watching every choice you make and every move you make. 

I also learned that setting the bar high is the quickest way to motivate students. By setting the bar high, I believe we are setting students up for success. But when you set the bar low, students suffer. They lose interest and motivation to learn. Yes, students demand a solid academic foundation. But they also need the comfort of learning in a haven that inspires, nurtures, and challenges them to reach their fullest potential. 

I'm proud our schools surround students with academic rigor and high expectations. Every day, Douglas County educators work to create an environment where learning is valued and celebrated. It is where our students perform best. Once they begin reaching their goals, the sky's the limit. Not only do students soar, but they also unleash limitless potential. 

These two lessons elevated my professional career, first as a principal and now as a superintendent. It's an important message we follow as we teach young students. For parents and community mentors like you, holding students to high expectations is a powerful message you may have already learned. 

When I see you, our educators, and Board members interacting with students throughout our community, I am filled with joy for their bright future. I see a lifetime of possibilities reflected in their faces. And I continue to see positive days ahead as we model the behavior we want to see from our young people. 

But despite our work modeling positive behavior, we still see an increase in school misbehavior. Student altercations are rising not only on campus but off campus. It's a trend we are witnessing nationwide. Unfortunately, violence is a part of our world. But one thing that has remained unchanged throughout history is that adults still have the most significant impact on students' lives. As the eyes and ears of our community, I need your help. 

You play a role in helping Douglas County teens grow up safely and thrive. Your parental and community involvement is pivotal to their success. Therefore, you can help impact what happens on and off campus. You may not be aware, but what students do off campus can also affect their long-term future. Remember, if law enforcement charges students with a felony during an off-campus event, they may face additional consequences. We can render further school discipline if the behavior poses and additional danger to other students or is detrimental to our district's mission. Every student is a valued member of our family. However, this policy is a step we must take to ensure safety, security, and peace in our district. 

As a valued member of our community, there are several ways you can keep our community safe for the future leaders of Douglas County. 

First, maintain a positive and loving relationship with your children or the young people important to you. Invest time with them regularly. Please support them by accompanying them to the mall, social outings, and athletic events. It's a fact that many negative events happen after school hours. But when they aren't resolved peacefully, they spill over into the school day, where students seek physical retaliation. 

A second way to keep our community safe is by setting limits. Please limit your student's access to social media and monitor their use of TV, internet, and video games. Know where your student spends time after school and what they like to do. With this in mind, please get to know your child's friends by talking to them and getting to know their parents. By demonstrating an interest in the lives of young people, you are taking one of the most important steps you can take to help prevent youth violence. 

Finally, remember reducing violence begins at home. Young people learn how to navigate life by watching us. Likewise, how we respond and resolve conflict teaches them how to solve problems when they go out into the world. So ensure you are modeling healthy ways to express anger and relieve stress at home. 

And when you do have conversations about anger, make sure to talk about how to resolve conflicts peacefully at school. In particular, support and be familiar with the district's policies to prevent violence. Everyone in the home should know the school's discipline policy and be able to communicate the reasons behind it. Knowing and understanding this policy strengthens the bond between school and your home. The tighter this bond, the stronger our schools will be. 

Neighbors, I know you share my great hope for the young people in this community. The Douglas County Board of Education and I also see the unlimited potential of our students. We're all concerned about how we can lead and guide young people into adulthood by inspiring accountability. 

After all, our students are the future of Douglas County. They need us now more than ever before. I hope you will join your neighbors by helping to keep our community safe. Our community depends on us. 

Your partner in education,

Superintendent Trent North
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