It’s not that I have had writer’s cramp or block but sometimes when your routine is interrupted you fail to realize how much time has elapsed. Similar to my workout schedule (not to be confused with my golf schedule), I realized recently that it has been ten months since I last wrote to you. To say that it has been a hectic and momentous year would not do service to what you have been through during that time. So with your indulgence, let’s step back for a minute and reflect on where we have been since the last September issue of Collaboratively Speaking.
At that time we were bracing for the impact of Chapter 43 that had been enacted earlier that year. Regulations would need to be developed and promulgated, collaborative agreements revised and submitted, annual reports prepared and published, and a variety of other requirements imposed. Notwithstanding the stress and anxiety associated with the completion of these tasks, you came through with flying colors. Of particular interest to me and most impressive was the body of work incorporated in your annual reports. The breadth and depth of the programs and services you provide is truly remarkable.
As I perused through the reports I could sense the dignity and esteem in which you hold your students, the quality and versatility of your staff, and the commitment and collegiality you share with and impart to your member districts. If I were to look up the definition of educational service agency, I know that I would find 26 unique and powerful representations of what that definition is designed to embody. Next, we monitored and worked optimistically with Joanne and her colleagues on the Commission on Educational Collaboratives. We were diligent but at the same time apprehensive that the work you do every day would somehow be overlooked. That apprehension, while reasonable, was not brought to fruition. We came together and were expertly guided by Susan Leddick who helped us shape our vision of the Next Generation of Educational Collaboratives.
We made our case and the Commission through its recommendations believed in us. We are grateful and appreciative of the confidence and trust that they have placed in us.
As we look ahead we are energized by the opportunities that lie ahead. We are optimistic that our vision of a regional network of collaboratives in service to our districts and at the same time, planning, coordinating and implementing, when appropriate, Departmental initiatives will one day be the norm. At that point, we can look back with great satisfaction and pride that it was you who weathered the storm and brought us to a place where our value is truly recognized and our capacity greatly enhanced. We owe each of you a debt of thanks and want to especially thank those of you who are retiring or will do so shortly. Thank you Susan Rees, Susan Cuoco, Theresa Watts, Joan Dio, Joan Schuman, Maureen Bingham, and Nancy Sullivan. May you enjoy much happiness and good health in the retirement you so richly deserve!