“A new school year! Exciting times for kids and parents.
But what about liability? Is the district adequately prepared/covered this year?
Are we going to be inclusive? Are parents going to feel engaged and welcomed?
Will each 3rd grader be reading at grade level next spring? Will all our seniors cross the graduation stage in June?”
As the chair of the school board in my own community, my next thought is often, “Probably not” to every question above.
Not because we don’t believe in our staff, administrators, or kids. On the contrary, the school board looks to our leaders with great respect to guide and direct us. We know we all want the same things after all.
But there’s the reality of working and striving in a public system. We don’t pick and choose who we serve. We stretch an imperfect system over everyone we care about. And sometimes, it’s not enough.
The best solution I have come to understand is to hire quality staff.
Research shows quality instruction is the #1 factor between kids that make progress and academic scores that flounder.
Sometimes that costs more. Or you have to think about service creatively.
But sometimes it will make all the difference for kids with special needs desperately needing to make growth.
As the Chair of my School Board, I get that. And I also get that kids coming out ahead is the most important part of my job.
(Shout out to my 2nd-grade teacher in 1977, Mrs. Carey. She wasn’t your typical elementary teacher profile but my math skills jumped two grade levels that year! Mrs. Carey didn’t laugh or smile much in my opinion but as a 9-year-old the next year, I self-identified as a kid who “liked math.” An amazing accomplishment from the 12 months before.)