Dear Parents and Families,
As we launch into spring, we enter a season of growth. It’s a time not just for plants to sprout, but also our community. Spring serves as a reminder that no matter how difficult times may feel, a new season and new opportunity are right around the corner. I'd like to use this space as an opportunity to celebrate the successes we’ve seen and highlight some of the challenges we still face.
Before we look ahead to this new season, we look back at where we’ve been. Liberty’s schools have been open for in-person learning all year and will continue to be. That doesn’t come without pandemic-related challenges in terms of student and staff absences, but I am tremendously proud of the perseverance we all have shown.
It is also important to understand Liberty is more than just our name. It speaks to who we are and the community values we continue to hold dear. Our schools seek parent input, promote transparency, and embrace a curriculum that teaches our students citizenship, leadership and American principles. Your continual input is a key component of making Liberty what it is.
This past summer, the district held a parent advisory meeting on COVID mitigation strategies. In October and February, the district held two separate patron bus tours, giving community members the chance to speak directly with me and district administrators. The district also provided five different opportunities to give input on the budget decisions for next year. In each circumstance, community input helped guide decision making.
In this community, you have a portfolio of schools that provide choices for parents in terms of the education their child receives. We offer signature programs including agriscience, career exploration, communication arts, dual language immersion, leadership, International Baccalaureate, performing arts and STEAM.
Across all of our schools, we have seen significant academic achievements. We are celebrating that average reading growth in every grade level across the district has already met or surpassed one year’s expected growth by December. We’re also seeing a real difference in math problem solving, thanks to a significant investment in professional development for teachers.
In closing, we look ahead to the future. For Liberty, that requires embracing our growth. Buckeye and Goodyear are among the top 10 fastest growing cities in the country according to the U.S. Census. Our district has strived to keep up with growth while having some of the smallest class sizes in the region. However, with the reduction in override funding, the district has to cut $850,000 for next year. Unless another override attempt is called for and then approved by voters, an additional $1.7 million will have to be cut in the next two years.
We invite everyone to get involved in Liberty’s schools. Your involvement ensures your local schools continue to represent our community’s values.
Lori Shough, Ed.D.