District Information > Superintendent's Message

Superintendent's Message


November 10, 2015

William S. McKersie, Ph.D.

Somedays, we forget to look around us,

Somedays, we can't see the joy that surrounds us,

So caught up inside ourselves,

We take when we should give…[1]

In the month of Thanksgiving, three months into the school year, it is time to look around us, time to acknowledge the dedication of the GPS staff to our students. Inspired by Josh Groban’s Thankful, let me share a bit of what I see in my travels through the district.

I see teachers with our youngest students planting seeds of literacy and numeracy. Even our newest writers are being guided by a “Narrative Writing Checklist,” to help them learn how to proof read and catch common errors. Our newest mathematicians are being asked to know the “Steps to Solving a Problem,” to show their work, to think about the why and how of problem solving, as well as the basic computational skills essential to good math. Regardless of the subject, I see the joy of learning being fostered--be it in the classroom, gym, music room, hallway or playgrounds.

...What we know can be,

And on this day we hope for,

What we still can't see,

It's up to us, to be the change,

And even though we all can still do more,

There's so much to be thankful for...

I see teachers in all grades folding digital learning into their lessons and student work. Educreations is the first stop for early elementary students as a way to boost their reading and sharing on what they have learned. Nearpod is used to increase student participation and analytical thinking and discussion in a middle school lesson on the Revolutionary War and the differences amongst “Patriots, Moderates and Loyalists.” World language classes at the high school draw on Chromebook resources to extend inquiry.

I see Media Center staff going the extra mile for our teachers to help the rollout of digital devices to all our students go as smoothly as possible. Even after a two year phased implementation, with quick attention to problems, our full scale roll-out this fall has been a monumental task.

I see music teachers instilling a love of vocal, string and band performance—and at performance levels to be marveled. I see art teachers fostering students to express themselves in all mediums with wonderful creativity. I see physical education teachers ensuring that students of all capacities develop habits of wellness. I see our athletic coaches guiding our student-athletes to victories—both in the win-loss column and by “winning with character.”

...Even with our differences,

There is a place we're all connected,

Each of us can find each other’s light…

I see teachers helping students to understand and address the needs of others who may be less fortunate or facing difficulty. Elementary and middle school teachers weave into lessons larger questions and ideas about caring and service. At the High School, teachers facilitate the 16th year of Names Day, through which 9th graders work with older students to have the tools to stand against disrespectful behavior and bullying. Also at the high school, I see teachers guiding student leaders to be a voice for an array of student concerns and advocate for improvements.

...What we know can be,

And on this day, we hope for,

What we still can't see,

It's up to us, to be the change,

And even though this world needs so much more

There's so much to be thankful for.

At every stop in my travels, I see teachers fueling what is the essential narrative for the Greenwich Public Schools: we are an excellent school system, with wide ranging successes academically, artistically, athletically and civically, always striving to do better for our students. Even though as educators we are impatient to do so much more, we need to take a moment to recognize that there is so much in the work and impact of GPS staff deserving praise and thanks.

[1] All passages indented and italicized in this essay are excerpts from the lyrics for Thankful, Josh Groban (2007). (Songwriters: David W. Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, and Richard James Page.).


November 10, 2015 Superintendent's Message: Thankful

October 12, 2015 Superintendent's Message: The Superintendent’s Vision for 2018

September 7, 2015 Superintendent Message: Excellence and Compassion go Hand-in-Hand

June 18, 2015 Superintendent's GHS Graduation Speech

June 2015, Superintendent Message: Distinguished Ideas 2015

April 7, 2015, Superintendent Message: Winning with Character

March 5, 2015, Superintendent Message: Gauging Progress in the GPS - Take Two

February 1, 2015, Superintendent Message: Innovation Lab: Deep Learning In and For the Real World

January 12, 2015, Superintendent Message: Hot Topics for the Cold Months

December 1, 2014, Superintendent's Message: Gauging Progress in the GPS – Take One

November 3, 2014, Superintendent's Message: Lots of Industry...Lots of Product - Part II

October 7, 2014, Superintendent's Message: Lots of Industry...Lots of Product - Part I

September 2, 2014, Superintendent's Message: Our Signature: Achievement and Caring

November 27, 2013, Superintendent's Thanksgiving Day Message

November 12, 2013, The Roots of Excellence

September 26, 2013, Letter to Greenwich Public School Families on our Call to Action and Strategic Focus

September 11, 2013 Letter to Greenwich Public School Families on Safe School Climate

September 3, 2013 Letter to Greenwich Public School Families on Safe School Climate

April 25, 2012, Superintendent of Schools Appointment Announcement

Resume for William S. McKersie (April 2012)

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