A NEW SCHOOL YEAR IS BEGINNING

Education is an exciting adventure. Each school year, typically late August or early September, there arrives a new generation of young children entering school for the first time. In fact, there are approximately 3 million fresh new faces in the United States arriving at the schoolhouse door as kindergartners or pre-kindergartners, some holding fast to the hand of one or both of their parents or guardian. At the same time, there are approximately 72 million individuals of all ages, continuing their formal education in both public and private institutions of learning in the United States. There are a wholesome variety of personalities and backgrounds in our schools today. And, at the same time, there is an array of fascinating learning adventures in store for all learners.

My wife and I and my wife's mother, taught for a combined 125 years; additionally and currently, both our son and his wife are teachers. We have worked with thousands of students over the years. One of the many hopeful challenges facing teachers is the effective utilization of an array of teaching tools and the effective use of a variety of best practices in teaching. Much of the literature speaks to the point that anyone who wishes to teach must never cease to explore and learn.

A major statutory requirement in schools today is for educators to assure that all students are educated according to the defined curricular guidelines. Minimally, the stated curriculum serves as the bedrock guide for what is to be done in our schools; but that, we believe, is only the beginning. From that standpoint, schools should strive to lead and encourage each individual student to become all of that which she or he is capable of becoming. Learning at any level is a liberating experience; it has been said "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." And truly, that is the essence of learning.

It is our view that good schools should strive to expand the horizon for EACH learner. As we see it, on the emerging frontier in society ...some of the finest agricultural endeavors, buildings, highways and bridges are yet to be built. And some of our students of today will be tomorrow's builders. Some of the great masterpieces in the arts are yet to be created and some of our students today will create them. Some of the most needed human services are yet to be developed in the sciences, engineering, and medicine and many of our current students will undertake in that endeavor. And many of our current young people have the potential to lead in these and other initiatives. In fact, there will be many yet unidentified areas of societal need, which will be required of today's students to fulfill in the years that lie ahead. We believe that some of the potential leaders of the future are in our classrooms today. As a point of fact, skills in good leadership are essential in any modern society. There are times when a good leader becomes the follower and where the follower also may assume a leadership role. Developmental leadership skills need to be stressed in our schools today.

I know, there are those out there who will say, "ho hum, this is a lot of fluff, idle words and educational pedagogy." We believe to the contrary; it is STRATEGICALLY BASIC to a solid education. We believe that every day in the life of a child is valuable and must be planned wisely; one cannot recycle even one day that is lost in the educational life of a child.

We believe that good schools must strive to develop within each individual a mastery of the essential skills and conceptual understandings that exist within the culture. In addition, a respect for the work ethic must be all encompassing in the academic and extracurricular programs. And further, we must strive to reinforce within the school life of the learner that identified inappropriate actions carries with it appropriate consequences. There needs to be an emphasis which will generate a desire for continued learning, self-discipline, self-improvement and self-development throughout life. And the development of a positive self-concept and an appreciation and respect for others must be incorporated within the curriculum. And finally, school must strive to assist each student to find a level of satisfaction in doing and performing to the best of his or her ability in all that she or he undertakes. Creatively dynamic and inspirational teaching goes well beyond the "cook book" methodology of the so called Common Core approach.

It is true, schools and the teachers cannot do it alone. It takes a close harmonious team of the school AND the home to bring out the best within each learner. And truly then and only then, we will come closer to achieving the essence of these words "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." To be sure......Education....is an exciting and wholesome adventure!