Without question the quality of a school system is of utmost importance to the community it serves. Here in Wilton that statement is an absolute truth.
Our schools are at the heart of the community and their value cannot nor should not be underestimated. This is not only true for the families who currently live here, but also for prospective families with school age children looking to move to lower Fairfield County. In addition businesses looking to move to the area are influenced by the school system in the communities they are researching. This is evidenced by the recent video released by the Economic Development Commission.
The protection and enhancement of this asset is at the center of the work we do on the Board of Education. We protect by ensuring that our school system operates in compliance with the many federal and state legislated mandates for public education. These requirements are numerous and costly to meet. We protect by ensuring that our infrastructure, buildings, information technology and other systems meet the needs of our students and staff. Again, a costly but necessary requirement.
The value of this asset, our school system, is judged not only by our direct users, families, students and staff, but also by the entire community. All of Wilton has the opportunity to participate in what we do by attending the many athletic events that take place during the year, one of our outstanding theatrical productions or any of the many musical performances to which the community is invited. And of course, the pride we all feel when we read about our students’ academic accomplishments or commitment to helping others. The entire community benefits from these undertakings.
The main driver in enhancing the value of our system is the VISION we adopted and operate by:
“All Wilton graduates will be innovators, collaborators and creative and critical thinkers who are high achieving, socially responsive and civic-minded, and have internalized the virtues of compassion and empathy.
“Our instructional program will meet the demands of a globally interconnected society by providing a rigorous and comprehensive, holistic educational experience.
“As a result, Wilton Public Schools will be recognized as a premier, dynamic, learner-focused district that leads the nation in educational excellence.”
This vision is at the core of what we do. It is supported by our two Theories of Action and the supporting Strategic Objectives.
All our objectives are focused on the classroom, teachers, students and environment. As a district we are indeed fortunate to have so many outstanding teachers and coaches dedicated to their students, positive outcomes and the success of our vision. Our thanks go out to each and everyone.
Over the past few years there have been significant changes in how we meet our educational objectives. Some legislated, some self-adopted, some subtle, some major and some difficult to adapt to. All, however, are targeted at one thing: achieving our mission of “high achieving, socially responsible and civic minded graduates.”
All of what we do, from our core educational objectives to our music and arts offerings to STEM to our athletic coaches and teams comes at a cost to the community. As member of the Board of Education, my colleagues and I are well aware of the cost and impact on the community. It is this awareness and sensitivity that led us to present a budget for this current year with no cost increase. This was first such budget in many years. In fact, in the four years since I have been a member of the board our budgets have been significantly lower than those of our neighboring communities. The board and the administration will continue our efforts to be fiscally responsible and mindful of the impact our operating budget has on the town.
However, as the major asset in the community we also must be diligent in our responsibility to protect and enhance our schools. As our neighboring towns continue to grow their investments in their school systems we must be prepared to protect this community asset. Clearly, if we do not our community will suffer, our home values will be at risk and the ability to attract new residents and businesses will become more difficult.
During my four years on the board we have worked hard to balance the need for fiscal restraint against the imperative to achieve our vision. My commitment is to continue these efforts, so that we can continue to improve the education of our students and to achieve our vision in a fiscally responsible manner to benefit our students and the town. There is no doubt in my mind that the administration, administrative staffs, teachers and all involved in our school system share this commitment.