Well, it’s hard to believe but it is the end of April already. That means warmer weather, longer days, and baseball (GO CUBS!). It also means that the school year will soon be over and in the books. I want all of the Grant students, parents, and staff to know how very proud I am of their efforts. It takes a lot of hard work to learn and grow over the course of an entire school year and I have been so impressed with what I have seen in my first year at Grant. You all are amazing!
I love words. Unfortunately, I think that there are times when we use some words so much that we get desensitized to the meaning and the power behind the words. A word that I find myself using a lot as a school administrator and as a parent is the “R Word”. Regardless of the situation I find myself in, I always end up talking to young people about the “R Word”. As parents, I am sure that you too have mentioned the “R word” to your children before. In fact, the “R Word” is one of those words that you wish you had a nickel for every time you say it. That “R Word” that I am referring to is responsibility.
For our young people today, I don’t think there is a more important lesson for our students to learn than the importance of being responsible. I consider it to be the most noticeable difference between those students that are successful and those that struggle. Heck, you can even say the same about most adults I know. At Grant, we are working hard to help all of our students become responsible because we know and understand that they will not be with us forever. Their high school experience, and the rest of their lives, is right around the corner and responsibility will be a great asset to have when they get there.
Responsibility can take on many different forms at school. Obviously, for starters we want our students to be responsible for their learning in the classroom. That means that we expect our students to take the responsibility to come to class prepared, pay attention to their teachers, ask questions, complete their work, and study. Their sense of responsibility also extends to others around them. Responsible students conduct themselves in a way that does not interfere with the safety or the learning of their classmates. The bottom line is that responsible students make school a priority and work hard at it.
Now, we consider being responsible as a two-way street because if we as a staff are going to expect our students to be responsible, we in turn need to be responsible for those things that are expected of us. As a staff we assume the responsibility for planning, designing, and implementing a standards-based curriculum that will engage students and help them to learn the things that they need to know in order to be successful here and at the next level. We take this responsibility very seriously and both parents and students can be sure that everything that we do is to “prepare students for the future”. We give our students work that is relevant and directly related to the learning goals that we have established and through this work, our students learn. It may not be easy at times, but nothing worthwhile ever was.
At Grant, our expectations for student responsibility extend beyond the classroom. We expect our students to accept responsibility for their actions, for their words, for the friends they choose, and even for the cleanliness of their school. When we do have the opportunity to work with students who have not made wise choices, we always talk to them about the importance of being responsible. Unfortunately, the hard part about learning responsibility is sometimes being forced to deal with the natural consequences of not being responsible. So maybe the next time your student forgets something at home, leave it there and a lesson will be learned.
We are appreciative of the hard work that our parents do at home in teaching our students the importance of being responsible. As you do your best to meet your responsibilities, your example will teach your student more than words ever will. I know it is not easy, but I want to personally thank you for everything that you do to make sure that your student comes to school every day ready to learn and demonstrate responsibility.
Working together, I know that we can help all of our students learn the things they will need for their future, including the asset of being responsible. And trust me, if we do our job right, there will come a time in the future when they will thank us for it.