The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
If you think this article is an advertisement for a Hallmark Christmas movie, think again. Although Christmas season is a wonderful time of the year no doubt, for educators the beginning of a school year is truly a wonderful time of the year. Why?
Because we educators are a different breed. Whether we are in food service, maintenance, technology, administration, or the classroom, it is all about the students. It is all about children and their learning. It is about the daily and incremental preparation for life and cooperating with others! About a second chance, a redo, a resolution, or a restart! It is all about growth.
That’s right, growth! We are all about growth in education—academic and social and physical growth. Over the past few days (actually more like weeks for many teachers), district and school staff have been scurrying to prepare lessons, updating technology support and delivery systems (yes, finally our iPad initiative), and creating healthy and nutritious menus. Administrators have been busy scrutinizing schedules, running class verification rosters, and making last minute tweaks to duty rosters.
We are all about the students and assisting them to be the best they can be. It is about forging strong family ties with the school and assisting parents to better understand and educate their children (when they are not in school). It is all about the student.
We in Laurens 56 are aware of our role in helping students. This year, we are intensely focusing on one of our four district expectations: “Engage all stakeholders in the support of quality education and continuous improvement.”
We are keenly aware our focus is on the student. We are equally cognizant of understanding students from where they are in order to get them to where they need to be. We are deliberate in our intention to provide a safe, nurturing environment for growth and development. We are aware students come from many different environments and backgrounds and annual academic “starting points.”
We also recognize the need to invest more fully in parental support and education, in business and manufacturing, in colleges and universities, and in our faith-based community.
This year, we will openly solicit additional support from the community to better reach and assist meeting our students’ needs. We are so grateful for the Backpack Program and Good News Clubs with the local churches. Our Clinton Coalition for Youth (CC4Y) is a hallmark of community pride and engagement.
Yet there are still many avenues uncharted and unexplored. We need you to work intentionally with us for the good of a child. Have you considered volunteering at a school, spending an hour a week reading to and with children, mentoring during a designated time, or providing coverage at lunch for teachers?
I hope you can now see why for us educators this is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Fresh slates, new starts, and boundless opportunities await our students.
Yes, this year we are looking at new and innovative ways to expand though still engage the school’s efforts beyond the traditional classroom walls. Everyone has a role to play. Will you do yours?
(Dr. David O’Shields is superintendent of Laurens County School District 56.)