Both the mayor and schools superintendent urged teamwork.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
WARREN -- The new schools superintendent urged faculty and staff to rise to the challenge of achieving academic excellence as she launched the new school year.
"Every student has the ability to be a successful learner," said Kathryn Hellweg as she addressed a kickoff assembly Thursday morning in Mollenkopf Stadium at Warren G. Harding High School.
"We must provide learning opportunities to challenge every student to achieve at higher levels, and we must maintain a safe and caring environment in which this can happen," she said.
"We have to first believe we can make a difference and our students can be successful," she said in a motivational speech to more than 800 faculty, staff, parents and political and community leaders.
The assembly had the tone of a pep rally, with the Warren G. Harding Raiders Marching Band playing at the beginning and end of the gathering on the stadium's newly installed artificial turf. The gathering occurred just hours before Thursday evening's season-opening football game against Cleveland JFK.
Here's the goal
Saying it is unsatisfactory for the district to be in its current academic watch status on the state report card, Hellweg said her goal is to achieve a districtwide excellent rating and to make the district one of the finest in the nation and the world. "Our students deserve it. They are our future," she said.
"I will do everything in my power to help our students be successful learners," Hellweg said. She commended Laird Avenue Elementary for achieving an excellent rating and Alden, Garfield and McGuffey elementaries for achieving an effective rating. "All of these efforts take teamwork," she said.
Hellweg, who announced this school year's theme "Together we learn; together we succeed," asked staff of each school and department to stand separately for applause as she called its name. Some 6,600 students are expected to enroll for classes, which begin Monday.
The superintendent said she'd have an open-door policy and be willing to listen to everyone's ideas. Saying she'd be visible in the school buildings, she told the faculty and staff they'd have three or four opportunities annually to meet with her at their work sites.
"Sports teach us that we are part of a team -- that we prosper working together. Warren schools are blessed with a talented, capable, dedicated educational team," said Mayor Michael O'Brien.
"Every year, in every season, we put a quality team on the field," he added. "Your victories may not be cheered as often as the athletic prowess that is played out on this field. But it is validated in every child who does something worthwhile to make the world better."