Office of Superintendent

Message from Superintendent John Deeder

Students are the customers in Evergreen Public Schools

In Evergreen Public Schools "We believe that students are our customers and decisions must be made on the basis of what is best for each child."

Viewing students as the customer is a fairly new concept in education. When asked who our customers were, school folks would list parents, community members, elected government officials, business owners, etc., but we rarely, if ever, thought of students as our customers. For our students to be successful and world-competitive in the 21st century, we as educators must change our thinking and treat students as customers, not as the end product.

What do I mean by students as customers? In my 38 years in education, I can think of numerous decisions that were made throughout the school system that were made based on what was good for the adults in the building. We need to make decisions based on what's best for students. From classroom lessons to how buildings are maintained - it must be about what works best for kids. As the school board and I meet with principals throughout the school year, our message is the same - every student in Evergreen Public Schools is a priority - what is happening in your school to ensure every students success and how are you working with your teachers to accomplish your goals? We are demanding to see evidence of the results and are working with schools to provide the tools so they can succeed.

It is no longer enough to create a great learning experience for a student each year from kindergarten through grade 12 - we need to create a great 13 year experience for each student. Students need to be engaged in their learning. To accomplish this, teachers need to create experiences for our kids so they are engaged in what they are learning. When students find their school work interesting, challenging and meeting their needs, they are more likely to complete the task with the commitment and enthusiasm that excellence requires.

In his book "Creating Great Schools" Phil Schlechty writes, "Defining the student as customer does not excuse the student from responsibility. It simply redefines that responsibility. In terms of schoolwork the bargain is a simple one. The school and the teachers promise students and parents that they will strive to create work that students find engaging, and students and parents promise that when such work is provided, they will expend whatever effort is required to learn what needs to be learned to achieve the goal towards which the work is directed."

Every week I spend time out in our schools, visiting classrooms and asking students what they are learning. I witness engaging lessons every time I visit a school - but not in every classroom. So I spend time with the principals and other educational leaders discussing how to evaluate lessons. We talk about continuing assessment of students. I want tomorrow's lesson to be based on the needs of the kids in the classroom, not on what is next in the textbook.

Our principals, teachers and other school staff are working hard to make sure that every student gets the education they need - because the students are our customers. Are mine and the school board's expectations high? Absolutely! Every one of our students deserve no less.

Evergreen Public Schools Organizational Chart 
Evergreen School District Improvement Plan

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