We have all heard that the only constant in life is change and whether we are a student, parent, or school employee we have had our fair share of experience dealing with change. It comes in all different shapes and sizes. Sometimes it is welcome and even planned, and other times it blind sides us and turns our world upside down. Good, bad, or ugly, change impacts our lives every day and in order to deal effectively with change we must have other constants in our lives that we can look to and count on to be there every day. These constants help to anchor our lives to what matters most and help us to be successful and happy.
I think that we would all agree that the most important constant is our family. While there are always changes that occur in our families, there is also a tremendous reassurance that comes by knowing that there is someone there when we get home to listen, support, and strengthen. There is actually research that has been done that shows that the single greatest factor of academic achievement for students is the amount of time spent eating dinner as a family at the table. It always surprises me that in a world of complicated issues and even more complicated technological “progress”, the things that actually work and solve problems are always the most simple. On this note, I appreciate the family members of our students and the time that you dedicate to them. Whether it is the parents, grandparents, or siblings, the support that you provide every day is a constant for them. You help them deal with the transitions and changes that are happening in their lives and you are the key to their success. I know you hear it all the time, but we really could not do it without you.
On our end, it is my job to provide our students with constants here at Grant that they can count on to be successful. The most important part of this is establishing and maintaining positive relationships with kids. We are in the kid business because we love working with them. Yes, they themselves are walking variables and any given day they can do and say some of the craziest things, but that is why we (and you!) love them. The way we see it, every student should feel safe, comfortable, and capable at school. Their needs are our priorities and while they may not be bouncing out of bed to come to us, when they are here they should be able to feel that we care for them and enjoy their time here.
We also have the mission to prepare students for their future. We have no crystal ball to look into to be able describe what the future for our kids will look like. In fact, I can think of no better example of a variable than our uncertain future. Even though we are surrounded by political, economic, and social changes, our mission never changes. We must have systems in place to support, engage, and challenge them to be their very best. If we do our jobs, then they will be ready for whatever their future holds. I am optimistic about the future because I believe in kids and the power of education. We have the responsibility to be another constant in their lives. Every student at Grant should be able to walk into any classroom any day and find an effective learning environment with adults that care for them as individuals. This environment has been intentionally created by the teacher to allow students to maximize learning. Everything we do has a purpose. Now, we are not perfect but we are improving and our efforts are centered on providing a guaranteed and viable curriculum using effective, research-based instructional strategies. If there is something that does not work, we either tweak it to work or get rid of it. Every day, we are there to provide the support, encouragement, and tools to help our students be successful.
While change is good, there is something to be said for constants, especially in the lives of children. I want you to know that we are here for your student and for you. Changes have come and will continue to come, but hopefully we can count on you and you can count on us to be constants to support one another. And by working together there really is no lid to your student’s potential.
Have a grateful November and GO COUGARS!