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March 2018 Newsletter: Superintendent's Message

On Wednesday, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida returned to school---a seemingly impossible task after last month’s shooting---carrying with them unshakable feelings of fear, loss, outrage and despair.

As global citizens, we must take action to prevent any more of these senseless attacks on human life. We must raise our collective voices to ensure that there will never be another Sandy Hook, another Columbine, another Parkland. We must stand together so that the survivors of the Parkland shooting or other school shootings never feel as though their fellow students and teachers died in vain.

I am so moved by the insistence on the part of our nation’s young people, led by Marjory Stoneman Douglas students like Emma Gonzalez, to enact and demand change. I am proud that our students, right here in Shaker, are organizing and executing their own plans to stand up and say that enough is enough, whether that takes the form of a student walkout on March 14 or a Peace March, as Onaway kindergarten students did last week. Know that the District supports any and all respectful and structured protests by students. And most importantly, the District will work with students to ensure that their planned events are safe and secure for all.

In the coming weeks and months, there will no doubt be refinements made to school safety protocols around the country to further protect our students’ lives and their right to a high-quality education. We will keep our Shaker families and students up-to-date on any changes we pursue and will communicate those changes clearly in a timely fashion. Our staff will continue to meet the social and emotional needs of our students with the goal of identifying potential trouble before it turns into a tragedy. And finally, if you or anyone in our Shaker Schools community sees something suspicious, please say something to a law enforcement official or to a responsible adult within the Shaker Schools. We must all be active partners in safety.

A few items of note inside this issue:
  • Learn more about developing the District's next Five-Year Strategic Plan.
  • Stream my State of the Schools address to High School freshman and sophomores on Thursday, March 15 at 9 a.m. A recorded version will be available on the District's YouTube Channel. 
  • Read about commentary writer, journalist and SHHS '93 grad Jamil Smith's recent visit to the High School.
  • Get to know Karen Dunbar and Rebekah Sharpe in this month's Employee Spotlight.
  • Learn about the life-saving difference Fernway nurse Louise Haffke made for the Jones family.
  • Celebrate 30 years of the Takatori Exchange Program.
  • Visit Junior Gabby Holt's photographic tribute to black history, "Looking Back, Moving Forward," now on display in the High School egress and learn what inspired her to create the project.
This month and beyond, let us all move forward, advocate and be champions for change together in these challenging times. For ourselves, and especially for our young people---because they deserve so much better.


Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools