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Letter from the Superintendent - October 2018

As students progress through the educational process, there are many things we like to see them achieve and begin to recognize. There are, of course, many obvious indicators of knowledge in terms of how students do on a standardized test. Do they (the tests) measure knowledge in a meaningful manner? Perhaps they do in most cases, and as public schools we do not have the option to ask to show knowledge in another way. We do, therefore, administer the required tests over the required material and expect students to do their very best to get the best score they possibly can. Admittedly, some students struggle on tests that are structured in this way. Accepting that this is the way things are is more difficult for kids than adults sometimes. In the end, the state will review those scores and tell us how we are doing. Let’s review some of the other, sometimes more important, indicators of progress.

As adults, we do many tasks throughout our days that seem unnecessary but required, by our jobs, by legal standards, by what most would considered morally sound actions. Treating others with respect, with common decency, for example, which we would all like to be treated. That is a task that schools and parents alike share. We want our kids to grow up being good citizens with strong ethics and morals, which helps lead them to a satisfying and successful life. These lessons are hard to teach, and many times it is best to teach by example. Fairness is a tough term to understand, because we all find out that life isn’t fair at times. We all have those moments, even as adults. Successful people learn to overcome obstacles, even those placed before us in a manner that may seem, or actually be unfair. We want our students to recognize that challenges can be opportunities for success. Life offers many avenues for success, and there are many paths to take. Resilience, having a positive attitude, and putting in your best effort, are the attributes that can take our children far. It applies to whatever career choice a young person may have, but also with personal or family relationships.

Finally, many young people have a difficult time with the term “no.” It’s not a good characteristic to have. Obviously, there are very appropriate times for a child to say no, but to accept no for an answer seems to be the struggle. Ignoring the important “no’s” can lead to a lot of issues. No running, no speeding, no talking, no hitting, no interrupting… the list could go on and on. We all must accept a “no” now and again. This is a big one. If children can’t get this basic concept, it can really cause headaches down the line. So no TV or video games until homework or chores are completed is a good thing. No staying out past curfew is a good thing. No hanging around people that will be bad influences is a good thing. At times, “no” can be a very positive thing.