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Schools: Average or awesome?
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
School is back in session. The anticipation is high for both students and school staff members. This is the opportune time for success to begin for the entire school year. As a retired school administrator, I directly observed and participated in 40-plus school year beginnings. Smiles everywhere, hugs are given freely from both parents and staff. There are new backpacks, new crayons, new pencils, and new notebooks. Everything is clean — the desks, tables, windows, chairs, the playground, even the carpets and gym floor.
How about a week from now? How about a month from now? How about a school quarter from now? Will the excitement and anticipation still be there? Will our parent involvement continue to be as high as the first day and first week of the school year? Will the staff be continuing to motivate every student to the top of their abilities? And how about the staff, will someone be there to cheer them on and keep them motivated?  Will learning be a part of every lesson or will boredom begin to set in and busy work start to fill the student’s day?
Too often homework expectations will dramatically differ from grade to grade, school to school, and teacher to teacher. Will homework be a graded piece of work for each student or will it end up in the classroom trash can? While there are homework expectations developed in every district, will they be meaningfully followed, enforced or totally ignored? Will the site administrator be monitoring every teacher’s classroom performance or will they be overwhelmed with office duties not allowing them to walk around their campus to really know what is going on in each and every classroom? Too often the site administrator is reacting to “fires” rather than being pro-active in preventing them. Is the site administrator accessible to every parent as they should be? Is the office staff there for students and parents, responding to phone calls, walk-in visitors, readily having the answers to questions asked?
The students in this school district deserve the very best education possible. They deserve the very best teachers and site administrators to be found and hired and placed at the optimum school site. An “average staff” is just that — an average staff. An awesome staff is just that — awesome. How would you describe the staff in your child’s school?
Parents, you have the responsibility to see that your child is motivated from the home-front. School should be the most important part of your child’s life and you should be there to see that it is. Not only that, but the child’s life should be balanced with extra-curricular activities, family responsibilities, outings and gatherings, times of reflection, church life, and the extras that make for a well-rounded individual. What a tremendous responsibility parents have. Nothing has changed there. Our parents and their parents had the same responsibilities and in a much less-complicated world to live. They did it! And our educational system was the finest in the world. What happened? Where has the responsibility level failed? Can we get it back? I believe we can — but it takes everyone doing their job, not in an average way, but in an awesome way. A way that makes everyone proud. A way that allows the child to see success in every assignment, in every hour at school, in every home. No report card needed here. The proof of our efforts can be seen in the people of this community. Average or awesome? You can tell.
Bill Lebo