A 2012 Prediction You Can Count On

by Jon Bales, DASD Superintendent (published by the DeForest Times-Tribune, 12/30/11)

We have always known that we cannot predict the future. We know this because we have learned that there are many things outside of our control that will influence our lives. For those of us in education, 2011 was certainly a stark reminder of this fact. In 2011 we felt challenges to the institution of public education like never before. Challenges advanced by both Federal and State government, partisan policy makers with individual agendas, and vocal citizens with a wide range of ideas and opinions. I’m sure it was all well intended, but I’m equally sure it added pressure and increased stress to people whose chosen profession is educating children. Likewise, we cannot predict what challenges will await us in 2012 with certainty, as some things will continue to be outside of our control.

At the same time, there is something we in education can control, and therefore can predict with certainty. Our own actions. We can control our commitment to students and how we approach our work with them. The individual drive of each staff member to excel in their role on behalf of our community’s children and to keep student success at the forefront can be controlled. This will not change in 2012 no matter what happens outside of our control.  You can count on this.

In 2012, your children will be instructed by talented, highly committed teachers. There will be teachers who don’t see the school exit until after6:00 p.m.every day – long after students have gone. There will be others who will be coaching and counseling students in a wide range of after school activities until well after9:00 p.m.There will be teachers who then go home to their own families, parent their own children, put them to bed, and then spend yet another 2 hours thinking and planning for other people’s children that they serve. These will be people who care deeply about their work.

There will be classroom aides who will daily encourage the hundreds of children they supervise and educate to make the right choices, to do the hard work, and to celebrate their successes. They will help develop the whole child. These will be people who care deeply about their work.

There will be custodians and maintenance workers in DASD who go the extra mile every day to make our facilities the perfect environment for students and staff. They will care deeply about student safety, they will care about teaching children how to respect and take care of their surroundings. In short, they will continue to treat and take pride in DASD facilities as if they were their own home. These will be people who care deeply about their work.

There will secretaries and other office staff throughout the system who will be there daily to hold the hand of a nervous child, the sooth the hurts that come with youth and their high energy awkwardness, and to answer their questions when they are confused. They will serve hundreds of young people and adults every day as though they were there own family. These will be people who care deeply about their work.

And there will be administrators and coordinators who approach evenings and weekends as if they are just an extension of the 8:00 – 5:00 Monday through Friday structure. They will continue to work tirelessly to create a school environment in which students and staff not only learn together, but thrive. They will take responsibility for the system to make the community proud. These will be people who care deeply about their work.

I predict with certainty these are the people who will be serving our areas’ children in 2012. You may not be able to predict all that will happen in 2012, but you can predict this, no matter what else happens, the staff of the DASD will stay absolutely committed to its purpose, the students. All the best in 2012.

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