Grainger County students have started another school year, filling school hallways and corridors, most of them eager and excited about the beginning of a new academic school year. Many of them sported new outfits and carried backpacks bursting with “fresh off the shelf” supplies. A vast majority were enthusiastic to greet classmates and school personnel they haven’t talked with all summer. Few moments in a student’s life hold such potential and promise as the first day of school.
Unfortunately, the “new” of the school year will rapidly diminish as teachers and students settle into a routine of classroom policies, paperwork, and productivity. All too quickly, coming to school will seem like a chore or burden to many of our students. Sometimes, even school personnel - who tackle tough assignments with enthusiasm year after year with little thanks- may wish they had the opportunity to simply ignore the blaring alarm clock and stay home.
However, at the annual county - wide inservice held the first official day of school, I reminded school personnel that each school year brings with it a promise- to be fulfilled or broken- depending directly on the effort and resolve they chose to exert each day. I shared with staff members the following sign which is posted outside of a kindergarten teacher’s classroom.
I promise to care about you. I promise to listen to you. I promise to be patient, positive, and respectful. I promise to help you. I promise to encourage you. I promise to challenge you. I promise to believe in you. I promise to praise your efforts, celebrate your victories and to help you learn from your mistakes. I promise to be honest, trustworthy, and fair. I promise to make learning interesting, fun and meaningful. I promise that I will never, ever give up on you.
I challenged all Grainger County employees to fulfill these promises with every encounter, with every student, every single day. Imagine what growth we could witness by the end of the 2015-2016 school year if we were consistently respectful, encouraging, dedicated, and relentless in our efforts to keep these promises to students.
Now envision the achievements we might witness if all partners in education- the community, parents, guardians, students, and school personnel- committed to apply the same type promise to one another. How might learning be impacted if students committed to teachers that they would always listen to them and be respectful? What accomplishments might we witness if the community committed to the school system to celebrate our victories? What potential might we realize if parents worked to extend learning beyond the classroom walls and kept the promise to their own children to make learning interesting, fun, and meaningful? The potential impact of these promises is immeasurable.
The success of our school system depends upon the support and efforts of so many. Without strong dedication of all, the chance of our success is greatly diminished. However, with your help, we can work together to fulfill the promise of a successful school experience for every student. Only time will tell if we will be able to keep our promises. Collectively, our determination and commitment to one another and to the students of Grainger County will assure a prosperous 2015-2016 academic school year.
Director of Schools