Thursday , September 20, 2012 - 4:49 PM
I have never been more encouraged by the educational opportunities available to them, and every student in Ogden. I am very impressed with the transformational progress I am seeing in Ogden School District. This improvement has a very personal meaning to me as a father and an incredible community development and economic impact for our city as Mayor.
The academic progress that Ogden School District is making under the leadership and strategic vision of Superintendent Brad Smith is inspiring. Superintendent Smith and the Ogden School Board have committed to a set of guarantees, attitudes and standards that are driving the changes in the school district with a relentless focus on closing the achievement gap and helping every student maximize their academic excellence and success. Ogden High school graduates earned $1.027 million in scholarships this year and have surpassed a 75-year record with 302 of 307 high school seniors graduating.
Dee Elementary has been a chronically underperforming school for more than a dozen years. At the end of this school year there was 30 percent growth in student proficiency school wide. That is phenomenal, unprecedented growth to see in one year. The success at Dee is also being realized across the district with significant performance gains at Odyssey, Horace Mann and Shadow Valley elementary schools as well.
This extraordinary progress can be credited to Smith’s leadership, a district driven strategic improvement plan, determined administrators, hard work and commitment from teachers, individual effort by students and support from parents. Superintendent Smith has worked with teachers to put names to the numbers and brought struggling students to success.
In addition to a relentless focus on academic proficiency the school district has also made bold changes to improve the standards of academic excellence. The authorization of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme at Ogden High School is a tremendous addition and asset to the students in our community. The IB Programme includes outside audits of student performance to help insure that the international standards of rigor are being met.
In turn, this intense focus on student output will catalyze increased rigor among the other teachers. The school district has outlined an honors pathway beginning in 7th grade to help students prepare for this rigorous and rewarding program as well as prepare for competitive post-secondary educational opportunities. The promise and reputation of the IB programme has already attracted out of area students to come to Ogden to meet their academic goals.
This transformational shift has come with bold and difficult decisions from the school board, Superintendent Smith and dedicated and talented teachers. I support the tenacity and strong leadership to move the strategic vision of education in Ogden past barriers that have prevented growth
Students who are prepared to enroll in competitive post-secondary education and connect to our workforce will be what create a sustainable path of prosperity for our community. We must be unified as a community to achieve a better future for our children and grandchildren. We live together in a tremendous community with unparalleled access to the outdoors, a unique historic urban downtown, a growing economy and a connected community of engaged citizens. Fueling the ambitious spirit for our future depends on a competitive education system that can prepare our students for post-secondary education and build an educated workforce that will support high paying local jobs that will support families and allow businesses to grow and prosper.
Mike Caldwell is mayor of Ogden.
I have two daughters who are enrolled in the Ogden School District. As a father, I am committed to helping them navigate a challenging and successful education pathway to give them the best chance of a vibrant and prosperous future.