Column: Welcome Back to School

  • Joe Gothard I wish every person in Saint Paul could see what I saw as I visited our schools and talked with our students, their families, and our staff in the first days of school.

    Last week I met hundreds of our future professionals and leaders. I saw how deeply our students are embracing the “four C’s” of 21st century learning: communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.

    I also met teachers who are making it clear they expect great things from each student -- teachers who are clearly making the effort to know and understand every kid as an individual.

    Among all our staff I saw warmth, empathy and teamwork in action. Even at schools undergoing construction -- some of the most fascinating transformations to physical plants I’ve ever seen, by the way -- I witnessed a patient, big-hearted spirit of collaboration, of willingness to work together for a greater good.

    And I saw how much our parents and community partners care about our schools -- their schools.

    You should know this about me: I won’t be leading this district from my office on the fifth floor of 360 Colborne. I’ll be out in the schools a lot. I can't imagine a better way to do my job than by seeing first-hand how you do your job -- and by listening to your ideas and learning how best to support you.

    Last week I heard people say they believe we will accomplish great things in SPPS this year. After what I experienced in the first four days of our new school year, I have to agree.

    Thank you for the great start.

    In partnership,

    Joe Gothard