Letter to Families

Dear Parents and Guardians:

It is indeed a privilege to join with the Caledonia school board and the school employees to welcome your sons and daughters to the Caledonia Area School District. We also would like to extend a warm greeting to all new families that will join the Caledonia Area Schools learning community.

I am honored to have the opportunity to serve this community as the Superintendent and principal of the elementary school. I feel it important to share with you some of my philosophy as the leader of the district. The bottom line is that we are here for the students! Every member of the Caledonia staff is here to help each young citizens of this community meet their potential as an individual.

It is important that we prepare each student to thrive outside the walls of the school building in the ever-changing 21st century. We cannot just prepare our students to be “good at school”, but rather prepare them to transfer the skills they acquire in school to areas outside of school. We need to acknowledge that we may not know what the world will look like once our students graduate. Our world is changing as rapidly as any other time in history. The fact is that some of content we teach our students now may not be relevant 10 years from now. Therefore, I believe that content mastery should not be the end goal in mind. The delivery of content should serve as a vehicle to the greater end of acquiring what Tony Wagner in his book The Global Achievement Gap calls survival skills. Below are the seven survival skills that Wagner references for students today.

1. Critical thinking and problem solving
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
3. Agility and adaptability
4. Initiative and entrepreneurialism
5. Effective oral and written communication
6. Assessing and analyzing information
7. Curiosity and imagination

If our students can leave our schools with survival skills they should be equipped to modify and adapt to any challenge they face.

Our focus will be on student learning. However, I believe for learning to occur we must first ensure that we create a positive climate and culture in our schools for both students and staff. We must create an atmosphere in which our students feel safe and respected. A positive climate and culture in our schools will serve as a solid foundation for us to build student learning upon. This being said, a positive climate and culture does not just happen. We must work to create and sustain a purposeful planning model that sets expected behavior for both students and staff.

We will be committed to excellence and will have lofty goals. For us to achieve our goals to provide the best possible experience for our students, we must work together as a team. None of us can do this alone. We all have roles and responsibilities that will contribute to achieving our goals. Your support and participation is needed to insure that we meet our commitment to excellence. Parents and guardians sharing in the education of their children will help all students be successful in school. When we model responsibility, vision, and purpose, we impact our children more than by our most well intended words.

The responsibility for student development lies with everyone. To offer opportunities for growth in knowledge and understanding, the home, school, and community must create and sustain an environment for teaching and learning, and for participation and cooperation. During the school year, the youth of this community may spend as much time at school as they do with their family. Therefore, it is extremely important that the parents and the school work together. It is the partnership between home and school that will mold each student into who they will be in the future.

The development of the individual will promote the general well being of our society. Knowledgeable and informed people are better equipped for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, thereby strengthening our community, state and nation.

Again, it is a privilege to serve the Caledonia community. I am excited to have the opportunity to lead our district into a new school year. It is truly a GREAT place. I intend to continue Caledonia’s standard of excellence by providing you the support and tools necessary for learning to take place.


Ben Barton
Caledonia Superintendent of Schools

Contact: Ben Barton