My wife and I recently welcomed a grandson into our family. It has been wonderful to be around a baby again and to watch the amazing developmental milestones and processes taking place. My youngest child is now 17 and I had forgotten how fast things change with an infant. As we approach the end of the year, we are celebrating many accomplishments. From now until the last day of school, we have awards ceremonies highlighting the many accomplishments our students have achieved throughout the school year and their educational careers.
A favorite album of mine when I was in college was Billy Joel's "The Stranger." I loved the music because it was new and different from the hard rock music I listened to in high school. One of the songs on the album is called "Vienna." In the song, Joel sings: "slow down, you crazy child and take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while, it's all right, you can afford to lose a day or two ... when will you realize, Vienna waits for you?"
This has certainly been a winter to remember. Prior to last month, winter seemed manageable and fairly normal. Then, the true character of this winter revealed itself once February started. Due to record snowfall and extreme cold, at this point in the year, we have had to cancel school five times. I know for many students, an unexpected snow day is something to celebrate. For me, making the decision to close or stay open is an extremely stressful and difficult decision.
What? A third chance? I think we may agree people deserve a second chance, but a third? Yes, I would argue that we all deserve a third chance, and maybe more, depending on the situation. We work hard in education to help kids understand that failure is an important, if not necessary aspect of learning. Taking a risk and failing moves us forward. In the science field, an experiment that fails is as important in the overall research as a successful experiment.
For me, there is nothing better than spending time in a kindergarten classroom watching and listening to the joy kids exhibit when discovering new things and sharing their thinking with others. The room is filled with energy, laughter and creative ideas. Sometimes, an idea is shouted out when something new captures their imagination.
My vision is that we are a district that leads with our hearts, is managed with our heads, and is at the cutting edge of instructional excellence to ensure every student feels connected and cared for while reaching their ultimate academic potential.
Last week, we were excited to welcome back our students and staff for the 2018-19 school year! While the excitement of the new school year is here, summer was a busy time for all of us in the South Washington County School District. Our staff participated in many professional development opportunities, which focused on preparing them for the start of the year and the implementation of new strategies and curriculum materials. Our support staff were also busy completing projects that can only be undertaken when our schools are empty.
The month of May ushers in a number of end of the year celebrations that highlight and honor the achievements of our students. At the high school level, these celebrations culminate with our graduation ceremonies on June 3. We have so much to be proud of in our district. Our students distinguish themselves academically, athletically, artistically and socially, through their selfless community service. They also distinguish themselves personally through their kindness toward others and their willingness to make our schools a positive place for all to enjoy and learn.
This month we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. If Dr. King were alive today he would be 89 years old.
As we near the end of 2017, we reflect on what has brought us to today and look forward to all that lies ahead. For us at South Washington County Schools, that forward thinking centers on our students, their futures and the variety of options that lay before them. We want our students to be career and college ready. We work hard to ensure our students are prepared for college, technical school, the military or the workforce. My dad was a machinist.