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I encourage you to dream about what this community of learning might look like, how we might build it, and to ask yourself if you might have something to offer to it.

MUSICKIn a time-honored tradition, it is my privilege to officially welcome Lake Oswego families to the 2018-2019 school year. As students filled their summer days with outdoor adventures, reading, learning new skills or working a summer job, hundreds of teachers, classified staff and coaches worked with purpose to make this the district's most successful year yet.

Our hallways are filled with anticipation for the incredible accomplishments and growth that our students will achieve this year in the classroom and in extracurricular programs. From incoming kindergartners to high school seniors, there are new experiences waiting.

In between monitoring our bond construction activities, working with our principals and sneaking in a little summer reading, I spent the past two months reflecting on my goals for the Lake Oswego School District. With such a wealth of talent and commitment to education within this community, our mission is to provide students with educational experiences and outcomes that are second to none. I wanted to share a few of these goals with you:

100 percent graduation rate: While we have one of the state's highest graduation rates, we should not rest until every student graduates from high school and is college- or career-ready. Research is clear that we can best accomplish this in the early grades by ensuring attendance rates remain above 95 percent and that by the time they reach third grade, each student is reading at or above grade level.

Middle school success: This can be a challenging time for students, yet it's a critical time in their educational career. According to College Board, "The middle school years are the single most important years for college readiness." A lot of what happens at school determines the likelihood a student will graduate high school and move on to a career or college. Our goal is for every seventh- and eighth-grader to pass each core class, achieve an attendance rate of 95 percent and have no suspensions or expulsions.

Advanced math proficiency by ninth grade: Our goal is to expect every ninth-grader to be proficient in algebra and geometry by the end of their freshman year. We should expect every high school student to successfully complete a grade 13 course — a community college course or Advanced Placement courses — and meet SBAC, ACT or SAT standards.

These goals are ambitious, but they are achievable. We have talented faculty and a dedicated community to lean on for suggestions, advice and support as we strive for excellence. Our rigorous academic program provides levels of collaboration and intervention to ensure every student has the academic, social and emotional supports they need to accomplish their goals.

In the coming months, I will make it a priority to listen to ideas from our teachers, staff, parents, students and members of the community. We all play a role in determining our district's priorities and solving our biggest challenges, and experience has taught me that the best ideas are likely ones I haven't heard.

So as we once again return to school, I encourage you to dream about what this community of learning might look like, how we might build it, and to ask yourself if you might have something to offer to it. Excellence isn't an abstract concept, it's a realistic goal. But we'll need the entire community to get there. It is through recognizing our interconnectedness that we will accomplish great things as a community.

I personally thank you for your investment in your schools, and I look forward to working with each of you this year.

Michael Musick is interim superintendent of the Lake Oswego School District. He is beginning his fourth year with the district.


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