Usually I get frisky on Fridays but today is different. Today is the last day of school. We have a lot of people to thank.
Our society has deemed that schools are one of the few places where all must be accepted. No person (or particular group of persons) may be excluded. That means that schools are tasked with meeting the needs of all children order to support their educational progress. All children. All students. No exceptions.
There are plenty of folks who are of the opinion that schools should be in the business of providing the best possible experience for their own particular children, or for the children of “people like us.” As loud as they may be, their voices are not the voice of public education. Schools are for all children.
I could say more but you probably don’t have all day. Here’s the important part:
We must not close the door on any school year without saying thank you. Schools are made up of teachers, admin, paraeducators, speech, occupational, and physical therapists, food service personnel, office staff, janitorial staff, groundskeepers…and of course there are crossing guards, bus drivers, and many, many volunteers. They are engaged daily in doing one of the most democratic things in our culture: education for all.
Thank you. Our children need you, our community needs you, our democracy needs you, our future needs you.
I have a special spot in my heart for teachers, who are face to face with the mission of education while those far above them are making most of the significant decisions. Yes, I was a teacher and my husband still is. I don’t mean to suggest that teachers as a group are better than everyone else. But I’m not sure the average person knows the intensity of the challenges involved in teaching, and how that intensity continues day after day, with not enough time or money to address those challenges. The pandemic didn’t create that situation. It magnified it.
Thank you, teachers. I hope you can get some restorative downtime, some fun, some well-deserved joy.
Before I sign off, here is a photo of my daughter’s elementary school, Talbott Springs, where she attended K-5.
Oakland Mills Community Association Board Chair Jonathan Edelson sent out a letter to the community this week, which included these words:
Today is a very special day in our cOMmunity. For the last time ever, students will be dismissed from the original Talbott Springs Elementary School building, opened in 1973. Future Eagles will attend classes in the beautiful new facility being completed next door.
I want to offer a special thanks to all who worked in this building, creating a supportive educational community for the students who entered their doors, with particular thanks to Principal Nancy Thompson. These people deserved a better school building long, long, long before the new one was even approved. They somehow made the magic happen year after year. I’m grateful, not just for my own child, or for the children of “people like me,” but for all our children who went to Talbott Springs.
Three cheers for this new building, for all teachers and staff in Howard County, and for summer vacation.
Another great way to say thank you? Elect board of education members who understand the mission of education for all.