It was great being on our school campuses today and encouraging to see the smiles on the faces of students as they returned to school. A hearty welcome back to all!
I want to thank our families and the entirety of the Ridgefield community for their patience as we worked through the complex process of negotiating a new teachers’ contract. All parties involved put in very long hours, giving up their evenings and weekends while working to find an agreement. I am grateful for the hard work of the bargaining teams to help us reach this agreement, which supports our incredible teaching staff and makes further commitments to the continual improvement of our programs and offerings.
We know there are many questions about the details of the new contract, especially changes to the school calendar to make up for missed attendance days. As a reminder, school closures resulting from a strike are much like weather-related school closures, and students are required by state law to receive 180 days of quality instruction. Missed school days must be made up, and this is why simply extending school hours to make up for missed instruction time is not a viable solution.
Terms of the agreement and the amended school calendar will be released upon successful ratification of the contract by the Ridgefield Education Association. Ridgefield is a special place to learn, live, and work. Our district already attracts large numbers of highly-skilled and qualified applicants, and this new collective bargaining agreement helps further enable the Ridgefield School District to attract and retain the highest quality teachers.
We recognize that disruptions to the school year are very difficult for families and students. Our motto, Pursuing Premier, is not a claim that we are perfect but rather an aspiration and an acknowledgment that we all – the board of directors, district administrators, teachers, and staff – share a responsibility for achieving the best outcomes for all Ridgefield students.
We also recognize that some parents and community members feel there were not adequate opportunities to voice their concerns, so I’d like to extend a sincere invitation to anyone interested in attending our upcoming listening sessions. I’ll be available to meet with the public, to listen and hear your concerns, and to answer questions on:
- Thursday, September 22 at 5 p.m. in the Commons at the RACC
- Friday, September 23 at 8 a.m. in the Columbia Assembly Room at the RACC
- Monday, September 26 at noon in the Columbia Assembly Room at the RACC
Here’s to a successful 2022-2023 school year.
Dr. Nathan McCann