There are a few opportunities throughout the year when I can get away with my family to the cool, serene mountains of Cloudcroft. It always calms the senses to breathe that fresh air and get a different perspective on life and how I can improve the learning environment for students and staff in Las Cruces Public Schools.
As we settle into a different routine this summer, it is my sincere hope that our educators and students can find that same serenity and reflect with a sense of accomplishment on all the goals we hit this year. We opened our doors to students and staff in August for the start of our first so-called "normal" school year since 2019, and we managed to stay open for the entire school year without having to close buildings because of COVID. We saw the rescinding of mask mandates and an expansion of public gatherings that allowed us to celebrate our graduating seniors at the Field of Dreams in a big and exciting way. We also worked together to develop a different way of doing school, with a balanced calendar that will hopefully provide opportunities for more student engagement, specialized assistance over the intercessions, and meaningful extended learning opportunities that allow our students and educators to experience learning opportunities outside of the classroom.
We also, as a district, watched the tragedy unfold in Uvalde. There are no words to describe the haunting feeling you get as a teacher or a principal when you hear the words, "There's been another school shooting." This unexplainable rash of violence should not have happened in Columbine, and it should not have the opportunity to repeat itself.
How do we solve it? I don’t' have the answers, but I have a resolve and a promise to our community to do whatever it takes to help heal, and to help strengthen our community to come together and stand against violence. I encourage you to talk with your students and families to be vigilant. Take the pledge to say no to drugs, bullying or violence. If you see something, walk away and tell an adult. These principles of good character served us well when I led a campus of middle school students, and I repeat them often as a superintendent to our district and school communities.
Thank you, Las Cruces, for supporting our public schools. Together, we are LCPS.