Tuesday, August 20, 2013

EDITORIAL >> Schools in session

School is in full swing, yellow buses abound and this is the time when students, teachers, parents and the community need to vow to make this a great school year.

As they say at teacher seminars, students must be all that they can be.

That means don’t just show up at school and be lackadaisical about it, don’t sit on your brain, don’t go with an attitude or plan to be rude to adults at the school.

The recent round of test scores were far from stellar, except at the usual schools: Cabot, Little Rock Air Force Base, Landmark and Lisa Academy charter schools. We expect the same from the other schools because we expect them to raise responsible, successful adults, especially if we want the area to grow and prosper and attract middle-class families.

Students need to be pumped, read as much as possible and complete homework and ask, ask, ask if they don’t understand something. Teachers don’t mind questions. Questions help the teachers do what they do best — help steer the students in the right direction.

Teachers, you must be all you can be. Teach, facilitate, coach and mentor to the best of your ability. Do not let a student slip through. If you can’t get through to them, find someone who can. Give students meaningful, relevant homework, relate what they must learn to life. Show them that you care about them over test scores.

Administrators, you must be all you can be.

Principals, assistant principals, and various central office staffers need to remember their No. 1 job is not to protect their office kingdoms, but to give the teachers the tools needed to give the students what they need. Put ladder climbing on the back burner and stay focused on the prize — well-rounded, independent students who use creative thinking.

Parents, you are not off the hook either. You must strive to be the best that you can be too.

How? Be involved in your children’s education. Know what is happening at school. Visit the schools and talk with — not yell at — the teachers. Provide your children with necessary school supplies, the emotional support they need, the cheering they need and a proper place and resources to complete homework.

The community must be all it can be.

Businesses need to encourage employees to take an hour a week to visit a neighboring school and volunteer to help a struggling reader or someone confused about math. Businesses need to offer incentives to students who strive to do well. The community should help provide supplies for students and teachers if needed. And the community needs to support Jacksonville’s efforts to obtain its own school district.

Every time students step into a business the owner should ask how school is going and how their grades are — let that student know that education is important.

We must be all we can be. Our students’ futures depend on it.

— Rick Kron