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Thank You...

Community Members in Brookline, Jamaica, Newfane, Townshend & Windham:

I am writing to thank you for getting out and voting your support for the FY18 Proposed Budget for Leland & Gray.  As your new principal, I am greatly encouraged by the outpouring of support I’ve seen in recent months for our budget - and by extension - our school.  I know that your approval of this budget will most assuredly cause some small upticks in your property taxes, and that in times of uncertainty this constitutes a significant hardship for many of you.  I can offer to you several things, though, in the coming months and years.

First and foremost, I will continue to work with Laurie Garland, the WCSU Business Manager to ensure that we take our obligations of fiscal responsibility with the level of care that we know you require.  There have been many challenges in building the FY18 budget, as we have had to review and reorganize revenue and expense lines to ensure that we are practicing within the expectations of the Agency of Education, and we will continue to do so.

Secondly, know that I take the stewardship of this incredible little gem of a school very seriously.  As a former teacher here (1996-2006), a parent of a graduate (2015) and three current L&G students, my ties to this place are quite deep.  I came to this part of Vermont nearly 21 years ago to teach here and raise my family here, and I am thrilled to be part of L&G’s future, as well as its past.

Thirdly, I promise you that we will make good on the promise of improving our already excellent school.  While we boast the highest graduation rate of any high school in our county, we still have work to do with our student achievement outcomes.  We are tasked with moving from a Carnegie credit graduation requirement system to that of proving proficiency in order to receive a diploma.  We are tasked with personalizing our education for every student and ensuring simultaneously that every student has journeyed along a “flexible pathway” towards college, career and beyond.

The hard work is still ahead of us.  With the challenges of declining enrollment and fiscal responsibility, we must craft a vision of L&G for the next decade.  We must embrace “small” as an asset, and not as a dirty word.  We have to reimagine education in a way that is sustainable, responsible and highly productive.  We have work to do on our facility - infrastructure improvements have been curtailed to maintain existing programming.  In short, we have work to do.

I can’t think of a better group of professionals - from the new superintendent Bill Anton and his director of curriculum Jen McKusick, to the eager and energetic L&G faculty and staff.  Together, we will craft a vision of how L&G will evolve to become one of the premier high schools in a state where education is already amongst the best in the nation.  We will continue to earn your collective trust while we endeavor to make you proud.  

Our work moving forward will be centered on the premise that we put students first.  We know that is what you expect from us, and frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.  So again, thank you for your support.  I look forward to the benefits of the Act 46 merger supporting our efforts, and I encourage you to reach out to me if you have any questions along the way.

Very sincerely,

Bob Thibault