Dear Oaklyn School Community:
I am truly honored to have the opportunity to serve as your Superintendent while furthering the goals of the community and the Board. The mission of Collingswood and Oaklyn Public Schools is to inspire confidence, critical thinking, creativity, and perseverance. I am excited at the opportunity to work closely with educators, students, families, and community stakeholders to focus on developing lifelong learners by providing an inspiring and challenging education for every student. There have been significant strides on behalf of the Collingswood and Oaklyn school community, and I will continue to build upon the strong foundation previously established.
I believe that it is important to share the vision and beliefs that drive my leadership. These beliefs have guided my career and are the foundation for my 90 Day Entry Plan into the Collingswood and Oaklyn Public Schools. We are fortunate to be members of a diverse community and must leverage this as a strength while embracing equity and providing necessary support to all students. The most important aspect of our work takes place in the classroom and must prioritize high-quality instruction that is culturally responsive. The Collingswood and Oaklyn school community has already demonstrated its dedication to the students and collaboration is a critical lever to ensure relationships are built on trust, common purpose, and high expectations. Given the diverse needs of students it is also important that we use data to learn from our successes and challenges while promoting a culture of continuous improvement.
Creating and sustaining an excellent school system is central to the long-term success of our community. This past year has been challenging as we work together to keep our school community safe during COVID-19. The work ahead will require that we think differently about school, and how we prioritize academic excellence, creativity, problem-solving, and social emotional growth. It is also important that we have open and honest conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am committed to fostering a robust learning environment that strives to do what’s best for all children.
To truly grow and build a stronger Collingswood and Oaklyn Public Schools, I believe that the following questions will need to be answered by our school community stakeholders during this 90 Day Entry Plan:
- How close is Collingswood and Oaklyn Public Schools to achieving its vision?
- Will we get there following our current path?
- Are we satisfied with the outcomes we have achieved thus far? If not, what changes are needed?
- How can we make them as quickly and efficiently as possible?
- How do we demonstrate our commitment to put the needs of all students first?
By answering these guiding questions openly and honestly, we can improve our district in a way that is worthy of our children and allows each student to meet and exceed our expectations. Due to the uncertainty of the times and the realities of social distancing, we will need to be flexible in the way we engage the community. However, I want you to know that listening and learning is central to my work with you as a school community. There will be multiple opportunities for us to connect and I look forward to those encounters. The outcome will be to present key findings and opportunities to accelerate our progress towards achieving our vision.
Thank for this amazing opportunity and I look forward to getting started.
Dr. Fredrick H. McDowell Jr.