By Edward Saxton, ISD 15 Superintendent
Americans have traditionally focused on seasonal holidays, and celebrating on the Fourth of July is no exception. Perhaps a family barbecue, a parade, or both are in store for your relatives. Some of us will travel, some of us will host, but it would be safe to say most of our friends and neighbors will be up to something. To increase the odds of having fun, cities all over the country will host some type of celebration.
Fireworks on the Fourth are most often included with a great deal of expectation from young and seasoned citizens alike. We organize, anticipate, participate, and when we are all finished with our activities, we evaluate…this went well, this needs work, this we must do every year, this we must never do again. We review the function with the goal of improving the experience for next year.
This procedure is not limited to holidays or special occasions. Revisiting our endeavors with the overarching desire to improve is prudent. In some areas, it is a must. With that said, let’s review the summer that is rapidly approaching the midpoint. We are invited to open houses, weddings, showers, house-warming events, retirements, and more. Each event has a purpose and a goal.
As superintendent of schools, I encourage families to look at student achievement in much the same manner. Principals, teachers, educational assistants, and all of our employees enjoy celebrating student success each school year. As educators, we also organize, anticipate, participate, and when we are all finished with our activities, we, too, evaluate. How well did our students perform, how much did they learn, how will we improve our instruction next year—and did we move the needle by improving the technology aptitude of our students and staff? We review the school year with the goal of improving the experience for our students and their families in the year to come.
When striving to improve our instructional methods, our teachers engage in reflective practice. This exciting method, aimed at reviewing and adjusting, improves teaching and learning. It has been utilized in our district for over a decade. Several of our teachers and principals will invest time in July and August to better serve our students in 2012-13. Increased achievement is the goal.
What is up next for our students in July and August? Great question. The schedule may be more relaxed when it comes to school, but this is a certainty: summer school, summer camps, summer family vacations, and just plain summer will present several opportunities to set goals and to evaluate. We have always been proud of the dedication our students and families have made to summer reading.
As a school district, we send postcards to keep the idea of summer reading fresh, and our hope is that families and friends will continue to be supportive and will encourage our students to read. We will all be pleased with the positive results in the fall.
Let the celebrations begin. Have a fun summer and be sure to take advantage of days too hot or too wet to do much—and read. Maybe a good first step in early July could be reading about the history and purpose of fireworks. Enjoy the festivities and please do so safely.