From the Superintendent: Working Together for a Common Goal



Only five more days until our students and building staff are rewarded with a much-deserved spring break. Whether it is enjoying a sun-filled vacation at a beach or curling up with a good book at home, we are all eager for time away from the stresses that accompany this time of year.


While spring break represents relaxation for us, it can bring anxiety and uncertainty for many of our students. Our schools provide stability in a sometimes unpredictable world. Necessities many of us take for granted - guaranteed meals or a roof over our heads - are luxuries only afforded to some when school is in session. I have no doubt that you will provide the extra love, patience and structure our young people need to ensure this is a successful week.


This break will also allow time to further reflect on last week’s Board of Education meeting.


Tuesday’s meeting was the first public meeting for SPPS following several high-profile incidents that thrust a few of our schools into the media’s spotlight. The negativity that was reflected in the media is not representative of the great work happening in those buildings. During the meeting, I shared my belief that these tragic actions of the few do not define the character of the whole. We must not and will not ignore the seriousness of these recent incidents.


As we navigate our journey to improved school climate, we must choose to work together; choose to search for understanding among diverse perspectives and realize that we all seek a common goal.


During the meeting Director Steve Marchese said, “If there is anything that is clear to me after the past few weeks and this evening’s comments, it’s that we must accept there are multiple truths going on in our community.


“They conflict, and there are those whose purpose seems more focused on encouraging more conflict than working toward common goals,” he continued. “Students and staff must be able to work and learn in safety. All of our students deserve to be valued and encouraged, with all of their challenges and talents.


“I do not believe in false choices. We can have safe schools and equitable schools. It takes hard work and commitment.”


He is correct. Safe and equitable are not at odds with each other. In fact, we cannot have one without the other.  


Director Marchese’s words are powerful and they represent the great challenge of our work moving forward. How do we value and recognize our community’s multiple truths while focusing on improving academic outcomes for all students?


My friends, I believe that we have the will, skill, capacity and knowledge to persevere through every barrier that stands in our way. It will take hard, dedicated work. Together, we will see our vision of equity and academic excellence come to fruition. Our students deserve nothing less.


I hope you enjoy your spring break and return refreshed and ready to complete the school year.


Your very proud superintendent,


Silva Signature


Valeria S. Silva