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Clarkston Community School District

From Superintendent Ryan: Our Best Year Yet Begins Monday

From Superintendent Ryan: Our Best Year Yet Begins Monday

Dear Friends of Clarkston Community Schools,

In a few short days, on Monday, August 27, thousands of students and staff will converge on our campuses to begin the 2018-2019 school year. For our new teachers, kindergarteners, and transfer students, the day will mark the beginning of his or her journey as a Clarkston Community Schools student. For others, like my son Alec and the Class of 2019, it will be a bittersweet last first day of school in Clarkston.

Wherever you and your family are in your journey with our outstanding school district, I hope you greet the new school year as I am: with optimism, with purpose, and with an open mind. Can you imagine the impact we'd feel in our community if everyone walked into school on Monday fully expecting this to be their best year yet? Or if we looked at every class, every practice, every meeting, every interaction (comfortable or not) as an opportunity to connect and learn with the other human beings on this journey?

Clarkston Community Schools has long been known as a community that supports personalized learning and the "whole person." Every decision we make is guided by a desire for healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged students, staff, and families. This is and will always be the cornerstone of Clarkston Schools, and what sets us apart.

Yesterday, I welcomed our entire staff back to school (with the help of some talented CHS musicians). Every year, our staff returns with positive energy, but this year the atmosphere in the room was unmistakably electric! We are ready for your children to return to our classrooms! I charged our team with being beacons for students, and for each other. Our direction is clear: strong learning connections begin with a personal connection.

With that in mind, we also heard a special presentation by Oakland Schools Diversity Consultant and social justice ally, Dr. Jay Marks. He spoke about being a self-aware active listener, reserving judgment, engaging fully, and seeking clarification. For me, one of the most impactful takeaways of Dr. Marks' talk was the idea of standing in solidarity with one another, regardless of our differences. We are Clarkston! What a great mindset to adopt, particularly at the start of a new school year!

So, as your family prepares to for the first day of school on August 27, fill those backpacks with blank notebooks, colorful new folders, and freshly sharpened pencils ... and fill your heart with optimism, purpose, and acceptance. (Your mind? Keep that open.)

It's going to be our best year yet.


Shawn Ryan

About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of more than 7,500 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Each Clarkston Community Schools' student is fully engaged in a globally focused education, from preschool through graduation, that fosters in students a sense of self, perspective, responsibility/ownership, and contribution. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to cultivate thinkers, learners and positive contributors to a global society.

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Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director (248) 623-5460.