By the time you read this, I hope the challenges of an unprecedented summer are well behind all of us! With the start of a new school year comes an opportunity to refocus on things we love about our roles in education, like learning, building relationships and celebrating the institution of public education and all those it serves.
Research has shown us the importance of relationships to student success. Let us remember that the same applies to relationships between the adults who support them. Whatever challenges we may have faced recently, I hope the start of a new year will bring us all back to our most fundamental bond: caring about what’s best for our youth.
The start of the year can set the tone for months to come. If we have provided a warm welcome to our students, it will permeate the rest of the year. Despite their challenges, public schools are inherent sources of hope and opportunity because they represent a pathway for growth and symbolize our collective belief that educating our children, all of our children, is so important that as a society we’ve built this great institution.
As with anything built, maintenance, repair and renovation are to be expected. For example, one of the challenges that public education boldly faces is ensuring that each and every student receives the access and opportunity necessary for them to realize their boundless potential. So, how do we do that? I can’t provide a simple answer, but the start of school is where we set the tone.
On the WSSDA Board, we ended August exploring the meaning of equity, together, and deepening our relationships along the way. It seems to me that we discovered equity involves learning and service; learning about oneself while also seeking to understand the diversity of needs felt by students and districts across the state. If you haven’t already, I urge you and your board to begin your own equity journey. And as your state association, WSSDA is here to support you. Have a great school year!
The president’s message originally appeared in Direct, the quarterly newsletter for the Washington State School Directors’ Association. Direct is viewable online and printed copies are mailed to members.