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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Opening Day is Around the Corner

The frequency of Back to School sales advertisements is a reminder of the impending start of yet another school year. That prospect means many different things to many people. I look forward to opening day with a sense of renewal and enthusiasm.

This will be my 36th opening day of school, and my 34th as a school leader - but my 1st as an employee serving Green Island. It never gets old, no matter the number. Every opening day holds promise and offers hope no matter what venue it is, be it the opening of a new store, a fresh baseball season, a Broadway play, or another school year.

Aside from the few year-round schools, there are specific starting and ending points that define parameters for schools. Traditional benchmarks are sprinkled throughout the calendar (the winter holiday season, winter break, spring break and assorted holidays) and offer a sense of pacing and mark the rhythm of our time. It is this annual cycle that begins with a rebirth each September that supplies sustenance to the optimistic among us. I am one such believer.

This 36 year odyssey has included positions in rural, suburban, and urban districts, big and small, affluent and impoverished, scattered across 5 states. I have seen it all and become the better because of it.

There is nothing like watching children approaching the doors of the school, sporting new clothes, bearing backpacks, and boasting smiles, to inspire your efforts and reaffirm your commitment. Our responsibility is a public covenant with the community to nurture the hopes and sustain the dreams of over 330 youngsters as they grow and create their future. Our mission succinctly states our purpose: "Prepare every student for college, career, and citizenship." It's that simple - and that challenging. The words are minimal, but long on meaning. The metric employed to measure our success is not located within a database of numbers or test scores, but rather on the faces of the children eagerly approaching those school doors. Our task, reducing the many different activities of school personnel into one sentence - like the methodical reduction of fractions to their lowest terms, is to make sure that the children enter the school with a smile each morning and leave with a smile each afternoon. It's our responsibility to find out what might have occurred to rob a child of a reason to smile as they begin their day, and endeavor to transform that experience through appropriate interventions designed to resurrect hope and opportunity. Our commitment throughout each and every child's day in school is to generate reasons to maintain the level of hopes and dreams that produce smiles.


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