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DISTRICT WELCOMED BACK TO WORK

Salt Lake schools Superintendent Darline Robles joked she felt as though she was standing in a wedding reception line as she welcomed more than 1,500 classified employees and educators at a districtwide meeting at Highland High School Thursday morning.

She urged all employees to commit to doing their best for the 25,000-plus students who attend Salt Lake district schools. "Every one of us must be an advocate for the children. If not, who will be?" Robles said to the group assembled in the school gymnasium.Robles had not had an opportunity to meet with all employees in one setting since taking helm of the school district in January. Robles was formerly superintendent of the Montebello Unified School District in suburban Los Angeles.

She asked employees to reflect on their own performances and build on their successes. "It also means getting rid of what does not work," she said.

For her part, Robles said she is "looking at reorganizing the district office to better serve our schools." The decision, she said, is not a threat but is intended to better serve students and employees.

Robles also shared her personal philosophy on education.

"My vision is for there to be a powerful learning experience for every student in every classroom every day," Robles said. She acknowledged the words may sound pat but said she is committed to that goal.

"The task before us is not easy. I'm not asking you to tackle it alone. I'll be there with you," she said.

School board president Mary Jo Rasmussen called the meeting "historic," the first time in her knowledge that the superintendent conducted a welcome-back assembly for all employees. Earlier this summer, Robles met with classified and certified employees on year-round school schedules.