In July of last year, Salem Community Schools welcomed Dr. Richard Rutherford into the position of superintendent. With the start of a new semester, Rutherford expressed that some of his goals he had revealed at the beginning of the school year have already been reached, while some larger projects are still underway.
Originally, Rutherford said that his goals were to improve SCS’s facilities, budget, and the academic scores. Starting work on Salem’s “already excellent facilities and programs,” Rutherford stated that “the first semester went exceptionally well. We were able to reach our benchmarks that are set for long-term goals.” The safe rooms that are currently being built onto the high school and middle school are on schedule for completion, the budget has made great progress, and employees have been provided with better premiums and insurance coverage.
Besides these accomplishments, Rutherford recollects that last year his interactions with the students and people of Salem had been positive. “Hands down, getting to know students and our staff has been the most rewarding and enjoyable part of this semester. The people of Salem, as a whole, are amicable.”
This semester, Rutherford wants to continue work on providing students with the best facilities and academic environment possible. “We want to be more energy efficient and put much more focus on all the great things Salem Community Schools has to offer.” One thing that he would like to continue working on in the school is the school spirit. “I love school spirit, and I would like to see this ramp up to the next level,” Rutheford said. One way he would like to do this is by having a LIP dub,” which is a video of students and staff lip syncing to a song, “that would showcase all three of the schools and programs.”
With his desire to improve the academic scores for each school, some students have responded with displeasure at the quarterly assessments that have been added to their curriculum. “Quarterly assessments provide data points to share students' growth and what they are learning daily,” Rutherford responded, “we want to provide the best education possible for our students, and quarterly assessments are one way to show this growth.”
Based on the student’s NWEA and PSAT test scores, Rutherford saw that they were as he had predicted, and he is still wanting to improve what progress had been made in this area. “All corporations want and push for higher scores,” Rutherford stated, “we have highly-qualified teachers and great students, which is a successful combination.”
“Good people make a big difference and great people make a huge difference.”