My wife and I are parents of four children ranging in ages 2 to 16. We enjoy having a child in each of the three schools. As our children continue to learn and grow, I have taken moments to pause and reflect on what it means to be a parent. As our children become adults, I want them to be happy and I want them to be successful. I imagine that I am the same as other parents out there who simply want better for their children than they had for themselves. I believe that our school system acts in a similar way as parents. We here at Amelia County Public Schools want to be sure that our students are afforded opportunities to learn, thrive, and grow. We want to be sure that our students are given opportunities for future success. We want to ensure that our students are provided opportunities that will enrich and improve their lives.
I want to take a moment and recognize the hard work and dedication of our students, parents, teachers, staff, and employees. We have seen much growth in our academic success and other programs. I am pleased to report at this time that Amelia County High School and Amelia County Elementary School have met all requirements of the federal annual measurable objectives. Also, at this time, the high school remains fully accredited at the state level. Amelia County Elementary School and Amelia County Middle School remain accredited with warning at the state level. When we look at our growth however, our academic gains in Reading and Math at both the elementary and middle school have been very impressive. Our teachers and students have worked very hard and I am convinced that we are close to reestablishing full accreditation. I know that with continued dedication and focus, we will regain full accreditation by the end of this year.
Our theme for this new academic year is Raising the Bar. While we want to take a moment and celebrate our success, we must never remain complacent in our results. While we readily celebrate the increased academic outcomes of our students this year, we also recognize that some of our students still need to demonstrate more growth. As we “raise the bar”, we recognize the importance for success for all of our students in all of our schools. Our school improvement plans will continue to focus on the needs of all our students and how we can better meet their needs.
Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to visit Helsinki, Finland and learn more about the Finnish education system. For many years, Finland has been at the forefront of academic success when compared to other nations of the world. One area that greatly impressed me was that as a country and culture they value teachers and the education system. While teachers are indeed respected in our culture, in the United States, I have witnessed a reduction in the level of respect and trust for the profession. We must change this in our country and we can make this change at the local level. Teaching is not only a challenging and difficult profession, but also a noble profession. Our teachers are affecting change and touching the hearts of our children forever. Please do your part each day to uphold and support our teachers as they lead this important charge.
I am proud to be a part of Amelia County Public Schools. I am excited for the improvement that we have experienced together. I look forward to this new school year and know that we will see continued growth and prosperity for our students.
Jack McKinley, Ed.D.
Amelia County Public Schools Division Superintendent