A Message from the Superintendent's Office
“If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years on this planet, it’s that the happiest and most fulfilled people I’ve known are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self-interest.”~John Glenn
Those words were spoken by the late John Glenn. Glenn passed away December 8, 2016 at the age of 95. While he served this county as a Marine in World War II and Korea, and a US Senator, he was most famous for his role as an astronaut. In February of 1962, Glenn became the first US astronaut to orbit the earth. This mission held dangers that no one could truly describe. There were questions regarding the impact the flight would have on his eyesight, and whether the heat shield would hold during re-entry. While the flight only lasted 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds, it was of significant importance to the US space race. John Glenn made a difference for this country in so many ways. In Hollywood, he was portrayed as having “the right stuff.”
So, how do we instill in our students the value of contributing to the greater good? How do we make sure our students have “the right stuff” to succeed in any field they desire? A big part of it comes back to being intentional in our practice. Students need to see how what they are doing in class can be applied to situations beyond the walls of the classroom. They need to see the purpose behind activities, and know what it is we want them to learn and be able to do. They need to be willing to take risks in their learning, and develop resiliency when they fail. We need to believe it the abilities of all of our students, and maintain high expectations of them. We talk about realizing the full potential of each and every student. To achieve that goal, we must provide opportunities for them to develop “the right stuff.”
What do T.S. Elliot, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and Bob Dylan have in common? They all have won the Nobel Prize in literature. When you first think of Bob Dylan, you may not think writer, but he has written poetry set to music that has impacted people for over fifty years. Selecting him as this year’s winner has redefined what many people may consider to be literature. The Swedish Academy, the committee that decides the winner, selected Dylan "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."
When Bob Dylan started his career over fifty years ago, he did not do so with the intent of winning the Nobel Prize. It was his hard work and influence over the course of his lifetime that led to the honor. He pursued his dreams, used his song writing to express his interpretations of social and political events, and challenged what many people believed about what folk music should be.
If our students are to realize their full potential, they need opportunities to express themselves and challenge the status quo. They need to experiment, fail, and learn from their mistakes. It is our responsibility to provide an environment in which this is valued. It is impossible to predict the impact our students will have on society once they leave our schools. Maybe a future Bob Dylan, or Nobel prize winner is in our schools right now. Maybe not. Either way, we do know that with careful planning, clear purpose behind what we ask them to do, and the right about of scaffolding without rescuing, our students will have every opportunity to become whatever they want to be. If Bob Dylan can be a Nobel Prize winner, who knows what our students can achieve!
"Students don’t care how much you know until they know
how much you care."
Those words, spoken by Joe Voci at our opening meeting, resonated with everyone in the auditorium. This premise is one that all members of our SAU#9 community must use to guide our actions. It is imperative that we build relationships with our students if we want them to realize their potential.
Realizing the full potential of each and every student, however, will take more than building relationships. We need to care so much for our students that we will do all that is within our power to meet their needs. That will require a commitment to maintaining high expectations for our students and ourselves. It means collaborating effectively as a team and demonstrating individual accountability. It means honoring the traditions while transitioning to the future. It means playing an active role within our community. It means we must focus on one student at a time and effectively communicate the big ideas our students need to achieve. It also means being mindful of our practices and remembering to take those three breaths, especially when faced with challenges.
As we embark on our journey together, please keep these ideas in mind. Achieving our vision of realizing the full potential of each and every student will only become a reality if we ALL commit to believing it can be done.
Happy New School Year!
Kevin and Kadie