The District Extra asked School Superintendent Clifford B. Janey to outline his plans for the coming school year. He responded last week with this letter to parents and guardians.

Thank you for considering the D.C. public schools as the choice for your child's education. I pledge my support to make the 2005-06 school year a meaningful one, distinguished by its focus on the total development of your child -- academically and personally. Many more opportunities will be available for teachers and principals to further enrich your child's experiences in our classrooms.

There are a number of changes this year, including new learning standards in reading/languages, arts and mathematics, new textbooks and other instructional materials, an online attendance and scheduling system, a district-wide emergency communication system to contact parents and caregivers, an online system for schools to order instructional and office supplies, a universal free breakfast program that guarantees access regardless of income, and the appointment of more than 600 highly qualified teachers, 45 principals and a host of district-level administrators in key areas such as academic affairs, accountability, procurement, human resources, budget and facilities -- to name a few.

We should all be encouraged by the spirit of cooperation reflected in the policy work of the Board of Education and the D.C. government. Mayor Williams's support for the public schools extends well beyond the additional money ($21 million) we received to address programmatic needs unmet or underserved in our original budget proposal. This kind of collaboration not only affords schools the opportunity to do what is expected of them, but gives a good example to the public about how local elected officials conduct their business.

Most important to the success of children is the collaboration between the home and school and the cooperation between teachers and parents. Your ongoing support for the success of your child and his or her school can make a big difference. Let me thank you in advance for your participation.

CLIFFORD B. JANEY