One short month ago, our administrators and many of our support staff members were immersed in the annual frenzy of final preparations for the opening of the 2013-14 school year. And, of course, our brand new, new to Duneland and returning veteran teachers were also engaged in a wide variety of activities as they prepared to welcome students back for another academic year. Our buildings and grounds crews, custodial and maintenance staff, food service personnel, and transportation staff were all engaged in final preparations unique to their areas of responsibility. Every year, August is a whirlwind of activity as we prepare for the beginning of a new school year.
In spite of Mother Nature dialing up the thermostat – an annual event – for the start of a new school year, our first few days of the new school year went well. There have been lots of smiling faces among students and staff members in our schools and our collective wish is that the signs of happiness, wonder and hope displayed during the first days of school in August will continue throughout the year.
It is important to remember that many students come to school every day carrying whatever challenges they are facing outside of the classroom. While there may not be anything that we can do to eliminate the weight of those challenges, as educators we do what we can to lessen the burden, meet them where they are and guide them in their learning to help them become the individual they have the capacity to become.
The energy and excitement exhibited by students, parents, teachers and administrators on the first day of school isn’t about the debate regarding state standards vs. Common Core, letter grades for schools or the increasing number of assessments. The energy and excitement we’ve seen is generated by a genuine desire to teach, explore, and engage students in the learning process.
Most parents expect their children to be present, ready and able to learn each day. They care enough to make sure their children know and demonstrate both personal and social responsibility that will enable them to be successful in college or the work place. Most parents want more for their children than they had for themselves, regardless of how much or how little they had when growing up.
In Northwest Indiana in general, and in Duneland specifically, we are fortunate that our teachers and educators do the work they do for the simple reason that they want to make a difference in the lives of young people.
Best wishes to our teachers and parents as you begin the 2013-2014 school year. Thank you for all that you do to make a difference in the lives of our students and our community!
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.