As a former teacher, elementary school principal, and currently as Superintendent, I’ve always found the time before and after winter break to be one of my favorite times of the year on our calendar. Our schools use this season to organize concerts and special events, celebrate our community service organizations and support families in need in their local communities. When I received an email today about one of our student performance groups at First Night Virginia, I was reminded that our performing arts students work during the winter break to share their talents throughout the community.
We emphasize life-long learning skills in our mission statement and our teachers work very hard and creatively in the classroom to deliver core content that engages our students. Just as important are those outside-the-textbook skills that were on such prominent display these past few weeks—caring for others, collaborating with teammates, fine-tuning performances until they were just right, and adapting to solve unanticipated problems. Together, all of these capabilities shape success.
This also is a time of year for reflection upon the many contributions our students receive from our families and volunteers. We are grateful for the suggestions and advice from our advisory councils and parent teacher organizations. We appreciate all those in our community who come to our concerts, plays, sporting events and celebrations to encourage our students and cheer their achievements. We benefit from the volunteers who assist teachers and students in the classroom. In today’s highly demanding environment, every one of you makes a measureable difference in the lives of our students.
Finally, this also is the time of the year for resolutions. Mine is to set the aspirational bar high for our students and ourselves as educators, then work as hard and imaginatively as I can to provide the resources and support our teachers and students need to excel. I’m hoping you’ll join me in making a resolution of your own to participate in our school community—by devoting at least two hours a month to attending a school event, serving on a committee, volunteering in a school or offering your ideas for how we can improve a program. Our students need you.
For more information about volunteer opportunities, please contact one of our schools or the Office of Community Engagement. Thank you for supporting our young people and the educators in our schools.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.