August 15, 2019
Recently, education circles are rediscovering the strength and usefulness of climate and culture. A friend of mine and professor at UCSD, Dr. Alan Daly will state, “Climate and culture are the soil in which we sow our success.” Meaning, we really need to pay attention and be intentional about how our school district feels - Is it welcoming to all? Is it safe for all? Does it stand for learning for all? Moreover, if the climate and culture are deep and rich, we are able to weather change and absorb a variety of impacts to our organization. Finally, we want to celebrate each other’s success, knowing that improving 1% each day, continually builds on our overall legacy and success.
In my 26 years of being an educator, I have taken part in many school openings. One thing I know is, building and improving our cohesiveness pays great dividends. Together is always better than going it alone. In fact, I am sure you have heard the quote, If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. Education is a difficult and very complex industry. The success you all have built here in St. Joseph is widely known, but is also fragile. It is up to us to continue our legacy of success, and we can only do this by focusing on our Why, and working together!
I believe our Why or our theme this year should be, Better Together. Meaning we work together to create the best learning environments for our students, we work together to enhance our instructional practices, and finally, we work together to build a rich culture and climate that will help us meet the needs and goals of all students, our staff and our community now and into the future.
I look forward to meeting with staff, parents, and many of our community members over the coming weeks; we are all in this together. From the cafeteria, to maintenance, to the classroom, and community, we are all responsible to make St. Joseph a lighthouse district - not just in Berrien County but throughout the state and the nation! I look forward to working with you on this new journey and grand endeavor.
Thomas S. Bruce, Ed. D.
St. Joseph Public Schools