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Webutuck principal puts words to action

It’s nice when a man sticks to his word. (Same can be said for a woman.) Might sound simple, but that doesn’t make it any less true.Case in point: Webutuck High School Principal Ken Sauer. During the summer Sauer made a statement — both bold and direct. He said he wanted to make Webutuck Middle/High School the top performing school in Dutchess County within two years.Now some people just make statements to hear themselves speak. Others babble incoherently to fill awkward silences. Still more say “yes” to whatever they are asked without understanding what they are committing to.None of those scenarios apply to Sauer. He stated clearly and coherently exactly what he intends to do with his school back in August, when interviewed by Millerton News reporter Stefanie Giglio.“Our goal is to be the highest performing school in the county, and I have every bit of confidence that we’ll be able to do that,” he said. “That’s our goal because it has to be our goal. That should be every school’s goal.”Indeed it should. Especially when there’s a leader at the helm with the experience and the charisma to make it happen.Sauer has been working hard since he uttered those words and, since making that very public claim, he has accomplished much. He’s proposed initiatives like Saturday Support for Academics, offering sessions twice monthly; Saturday Detentions for Behavior, also twice monthly; and After-School Sports Study Hall, offering daily academic support to athletes during the week with teachers’ assistants. Sauer has also organized committees to help strive toward the ultimate goal of being the highest performing school in the county. Those committees focus on students as stakeholders, dropout prevention, student morale (culture and climate), staff morale (culture and climate), school pride, curriculum and instruction, public perception/public relations and rigor.Sauer has also distinguished between measurable and immeasurable factors in seeking placement as the highest performing school. Measurable factors include graduation rates, percent of diplomas granted with distinction and passing percentages on Regents exams. The values mentioned two paragraphs above qualify as some of the immeasurable factors, as do some of the ones below. They include “The Warrior Way.” Work ethicA positive attitudeRespect self and othersResponsibilityIntegrityOutstanding citizenshipReliableSelf-disciplinedSauer is undoubtedly working hard to establish a productive and creative atmosphere at Webutuck, one conducive to learning and excelling. He is trying to convey the importance of not only studying and scoring well on tests, but also of behaving properly and treating people with respect. All are important life lessons for Webutuck students to learn. If Sauer’s plans are adopted and his lessons taught properly, there’s little reason why Webutuck can’t transition from being among the lowest ranking performing schools in Dutchess County to being the highest performing school in the county. We wish it well on its journey — we’ll certainly be watching along the way.

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