EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation Superintendent Dr. David Smith delivered the annual State of the Schools Address. The theme this year was “#WeAreEVSC.”
Dr. Smith became emotional when he recalled what he said eight years ago that the community cannot be strong without a strong public school corporation.
On Tuesday, as he touched on all that the schools have been doing over the past year, he said he hopes everyone can see for themselves just how strong the corporation is. He said it is diversity that is their strength.
A senior also took the stage to share his experience that led him to a full-tuition scholarship at his choice of Indiana college. Dr. Smith highlighted EVSC’s new work-based learning program called RAMP. In partnership with AmeriQual, the company calls this an extension of its purpose to serve the country by serving the community.
“This initiative, it will initially help to alleviate some of our workforce staffing challenges, but most importantly it gives us an opportunity to provide our future generations with coaching, mentoring, and hands-on work experience from which we are confident they will benefit for a long time personally and professionally,” says AmeriQual HR Vice President of Resouces, Mirsada Salihovic.
RAMP will also provide students with the potential of earning full-time employment following graduation.
“I want you to know that we are not defined by the challenges we face. Instead, we are defining how we solve the challenges that we all face,” says Dr. Smith.
Dr. Smith says their people make the difference.
“Don’t tell me that our students are not successful. Don’t tell me that they can’t achieve. I will tell you this. Have outstanding teachers, outstanding opportunities, outstanding levels of support, and then you have outstanding outcomes for kids,” says Dr. Smith.
Culinary arts students prepared dessert. The program is one of the top 50 culinary arts programs in the country.
In fact, EVSC has a number of innovative programs to enhance the student experience and is known nationally for continuous commitment to improvement. A commitment that Dr. Smith says gives them focus in a difficult environment with school funding and teacher salaries in the hot seat recently.
“Indiana is very last in teacher attractiveness. Indiana is also dead last in the percent change in inflation-adjusted teacher salaries over the last 15 years,” says Dr. Smith.
While that is the current reality in Indiana, Dr. Smith says EVSC has not used it as an excuse.
“I am proud to be born in Evansville, proud to be educated by EVSC schools, proud to be the superintendent of a public school system that embraces everyone, that accepts everyone. Now, some people want to say that’s a weakness. I’m here to tell you that our diversity is our strength. #WeAreEVSC,” says Dr. Smith.
Dr. Smith also noted that they have cut expenses at central office by 61% and invested those savings into salaries.