Dr. John Strycker

Phone: 334.382.2665

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Dr. John Strycker

Superintendent's Weekly Update

June 13, 2019

School Community Update 

“Making a Difference:  Thank You Educators!"

This week, I was very proud that we took the opportunity at our June Board of Education meeting to honor our staff who have worked so diligently this year to effect student achievement.  A large portion of that meeting was focused on presenting our student achievement data to the Board of Education.  The presentations took about an hour as we heard from each building principal, the Special Education Department and our Federal Programs Director.  Each administrator presented their student growth data, proficiency data, and action steps to address any deficiencies that were revealed in the data. Each presentation ended by celebrating the greatness of individual teachers who have achieved extraordinary results.

I was very proud of our overall growth trends that average 2 to 4 percent across the board.  We are clearly moving in the right direction with a specific action plan for sustainable growth.   

On the way home, I reflected upon all our outstanding teachers, support staff and administrators who are working so hard for our young people. Because teaching is often viewed as an “ordinary” job, it is easy to overlook its potential to elicit greatness from others. I would like to share a story attributed to Taylor Mali that reminds us that what educators do matters to us all:  

“At a dinner party the guests were sitting around the table where the discussion invariably led to education. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, ‘What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?  You know, it’s true what they say about teachers: Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” He turned to another guest and said, “Hey Susan, you’re a teacher.  Be honest, what do you make?’

Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, ‘You want to know what I make?  I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.  I can make a C-plus feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor and an A feel like a slap in the face if the student didn’t do their very best.’  Susan continued, ‘I can make parents tremble when I call home or feel almost like they won the lottery when I tell them how well their child is progressing.’  Gaining speed, she went on, ‘You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder.  I make them question.  I make them criticize.  I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write, and I make them read, read, read.  I make them show all their work in math and hide it all on their final drafts in English.’  Susan then stopped and cleared her throat, ‘I make them understand that if you have the brains, then follow your heart. And if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make in money, you pay them no attention.’ She paused. “You want to know what I make? I make a difference.  What about you?’”

It is easy to overlook the important difference that educators make in the lives of our children. Now that the school year is over and things have slowed down for the summer, please take a moment to thank an educator for all that they do for children! You never know, the encouragement you give to them might make all the difference in the world too.    

 

Thank you,

John