The start of a new adventure

By Brian Whiston
Have you ever watched Phineas and Ferb? If not, let me explain. The animated Disney show features two very inventive young boys who make the most of their summer vacation by going on grand adventures and creating fun that will last a lifetime.

Now that our summer vacation draws to a close, I hope that everyone was able to take a page from the Phineas and Ferb playbook and fill your summer with grand adventures and fun that will last a lifetime.

However, the start of another school year is also the start of a new adventure. A new grade, new school, new teachers, or new friends can all be part of that adventure. For many students, change can be difficult, but children have a resilience that makes it easier for them to adapt and flourish, especially with the help of their parents. The district also is committed to working with parents and students to make sure the transition to a new grade or school is a positive experience for all involved.

Several of our staff members also will be part of a new school. Youssef Mosallam, former principal at River Oaks Elementary School, takes over as the new principal at Fordson, and six other schools will see a new principal at the building. Nine assistant principals also will join a new school team to start the year. A complete list of new assignments can be found on the district’s Website:

These administrative changes occur each year due to retirements and other personnel changes. I’m confident these individuals will do an excellent job of creating a school environment that is focused on learning and student achievement. We are very fortunate to have talented and skilled people in our district ready to take on new challenges, share knowledge and be an integral part of the academic success taking place in our district.

Speaking of academic success, we are very encouraged by the upward trend reflected in the latest Michigan Merit Exam/ACT and Michigan Educational Assessment Program test scores. Test scores alone don’t tell the whole story; however, they are a good indicator of the improvements being made in the classroom. I want to thank our principals, teachers, students and parents for all their hard work to bring about this type of good news. The work is not done, and the results from these tests are only one of the many tools we use to focus instruction on areas where improvements can be made.

A simple task can make parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and neighbors a part of this success story. Please take a moment to read to your young child or read with your older child. The simple act of reading or encouraging your child to read can have a dramatic effect on student performance in the classroom.

The school year has started and we start the adventure excited, full of hope and humbled by the awesome responsibility that we have undertaken, the education of children. We embrace this task with a loving heart, a focused plan, a dedicated staff and a districtwide commitment that the children in your homes will be successful as students in our schools.

(Brian Whiston is Dearborn Schools Superintendent)