Our kids are depending on us | GUEST OPINION

Hello! My name is Becky Berg and I am the new Superintendent of the proud Marysville School District. I follow in the footsteps of my predecessor, Dr. Larry Nyland, who served this district selflessly for the past nine years. I come to you most recently from the Deer Park School District in Deer Park, Wash., just north of Spokane. My husband and I are so excited to live here and to “knit in” to the fabric of the Marysville/Tulalip community.

As I sit in my new office on this warm July day, I am struck by both the history and the future of our school district and of our community. Those that have come before me have created a high performing school district that is known widely for its courage to be innovative and to improve the way education has always been. This means that the team of educators, families, and community members have examined their practices, looked at current research and at systems that were unlocking education for their students, and have been bold in creating solutions for today’s learner. Our smaller learning communities structure at our high schools has set the mark for creating communities of caring where students are known and are challenged.

Our partnership with the Tulalip Tribes, the city of Marysville and the Parks and Recreation Department, the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club and United Way, just to name a few, is also a hallmark of the Marysville School District. Upon first arriving in Marysville it was evident that the community wraps its arms around each child and works tirelessly to ensure their success and happiness.

And I am also struck by those individuals who have given all of their hearts to our students and upon whose shoulders we stand. Whether a kindergarten teacher who developed lesson plans to capture the fleeting attention of five year olds, or a bus driver who made a child feel special, a maintenance worker who tended to our facilities so that students can learn in bright, well-cared for spaces, or a voter who had not had children in school for a very long time but who understood the importance of education — every individual over time has been a key participant in enhancing the learning and lives of our students. They are who brought us to this point today.

Are we there yet? No. The future is rich with opportunities. In our time together, we will need to wrestle with vitally important issues such as how, as a community, do we address the needs of the whole child — so that every child is safe, healthy, supported, engaged and challenged?  In an era of unprecedented mandates from federal and state governments, how do we fulfill the promise of public schools that reflect the values and expectations of the local community? In a society that is ever stratified by income and advantage, do we have the courage to ensure that children who need more of a boost, get more of a boost to reach their full potential? In an era of tight resources, how do we make sure that each of our schools is a state of the art, high quality learning environment with appropriate technology and resources to prepare our students for an increasingly high-tech, high-performance world? This is just the tip of the iceberg of the work ahead of us. I am confident, however, that by locking arms with each other and with a relentless focus on the success of each child — despite circumstance — we can do this vitally important work.  Our kids are depending on us.  Thank you in advance for joining me on the journey.

Dr. Becky Berg, Superintendent, can be reached via email at Becky_Berg@msvl.k12.wa.us or by calling 360-653-0800.


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