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A Letter to My Grandsons:

Dear Gabe and Theo,

Sooner than you know, you two will be walking to ETHS the same way your mom did from our house on Wesley Avenue 25 years ago.

ETHS has been so much a part of our lives that I thought I’d tell you about why I think it’s so great, and what I’m doing and have done to help make it even better. You may not understand now, but when you start that walk you will.

Things have changed since your grandfather and I went to high school. His was all white and mine was all black. We’re in a better place now. ETHS has kids of all different colors and cultures and backgrounds. And the wonderful thing is that everyone wants each student to have the best education that he or she can. That’s one of the reasons I joined the ETHS School Board 20 years ago.

It’s also one of the reasons I and our current Board supported rearranging one freshman course next year so that high performing kids will be in the same classroom with kids who, we believe, with the right support can also do well. Of course we know we’ll need the best teachers and we’ll have to watch closely to see how well our plan works and make changes if we need to.

The Boards on which I’ve served since 1991 have done many other goods things. We’ve expanded, enriched and continuously reviewed terrific course offerings, including today’s 115 honors classes and 24 AP classes. We are now preparing to adopt common core standards to assure all our courses, not just the advanced ones, have high rigor. We’ve handled our community’s money prudently and, even in these hard economic times, balanced our budgets for the last four consecutive years while keeping cuts away from the classroom. We’ve retained and recruited an outstanding teacher corps. We’ve engaged a top-notch superintendent and a highly talented financial officer. We’ve developed a first-rate school website and extensively upgraded our buildings and grounds. I’m proud to have been a part of all these successes.

A lot of Board work, like diminishing the performance gap, can be incredibly complicated – there are no quick and simple fixes. I’ve learned educational change takes time, patience, intensive study, skillful leadership, wisdom about what’s doable, and the ability to work cooperatively.

In running for re-election, I recommit to increasing the atmosphere of excellence and equity at ETHS so that when you boys and your classmates arrive at this wonderful institution, you will be met by skillful, nurturing teachers and administrators who will ensure you all find your place in this extraordinary community of learners.

Love, Bibi

(aka Your Grandmother, Jane Colleton)