Summer…But Not for Much Longer!
Sorry folks, I am not a weather man! I cannot make any promises about any relief to the oppressive heat and humidity of our beautiful state. You see, the word “summer” for educators has little to do with the season itself and far more about the time between ending one school year and starting another. We have less than a month before all of the teachers come back for the start of another year. Of course, there has been very little “down” time this summer. Professional development occurs all summer now and there is not a week without some group of educators going in one direction or the other. Let’s just take last week as an example. The week of July 11 – 15 had teachers from CES and JWES attend the Summer Institute for TAP. Five administrators attended a wonderful two-day professional development in L55 on Professional Learning Communities. Forty food service workers from four counties attended a culinary institute at Clinton High School. Nineteen rising ninth graders attended the Piedmont Technical College Robotics and Engineering Camp sponsored by Gear Up and chaperoned by Ms. Terri O’Shields. CC4Y, the Summer Reading Program, and the Summer Lunch Program ran full-speed ahead in three different locations – Bell Street, Eastside, and Clinton Elementary. The new band director at Clinton High (Andrew Young) even had practice at CHS for those interested and willing to attend last Thursday. The old adage “A rolling stone gathers no moss” is certainly true in Laurens 56. Teachers, students, cafeteria staff, administrators, and a whole host of volunteers continue to make summer anything but a down time for students. The other old adage “The three best reasons to go into teaching are June, July, and August” is certainly not true. School now starts on the third Monday in August for students and that doesn’t even count the additional time teachers give to developing lesson plans, creating curriculum maps, and vetting course pacing guides. Truth be told, the very week after school let out in June our Summer Reading Camp started. We recognize the need to keep struggling students engaged. Even students who do not struggle academically need to be challenged and pushed in this very competitive day and time. Think about it. Athletes participate in summer camps to hone their skills whether it be cross country, basketball, or football. Coaches are the very best at knowing students and supporting their development. Coach Atkinson, cross country coach at CHS, has motivated his students to “run across ‘the’ country.” Every student has an expectation to run and assist the team to making it from Clinton to California before the start of “official” season. At last report, the team had logged enough miles to be in Arizona. I guarantee the teams will get the necessary number of miles and I also guarantee our runners will be in better shape when the season begins and during competition. Coach Webb takes his receivers, center, and quarterbacks to numerous 7-on-7 camps in order to help them become better players. Whether the starting quarterback is in or not, all players work to increase their knowledge and execution of the routes and the precision and timing of the plays. Coach Webb has created a sense of urgency in the players to be better by working to be better…one play, one drill, one scrimmage at a time. As you read this article, Science Olympiad coaches will be attending the Summer Institute in order to know the events and know how to help the students with the events once school starts and practice resumes. The aforementioned Mr. Young will be working with the CHS band in that same oppressive heat awaiting the cross country and football teams…before you know it. Yes, “summer” as measured in educator terms is nearly over…but like all good educators…we wouldn’t have it any other way. Students make our jobs worthwhile. Helping a student read better, run better, play better, block better, or learn better is why we are busy this summer. Students are worth the investment, don’t you think? We in Laurens 56 certainly do! May it be so! (Dr. David O’Shields is superintendent of Laurens County School District 56.)