For those of you who have heard me speak at other Superintendent’s Conference Days, you know I find writing these opening day remarks difficult. However, this year, I found it difficult not to write as I feel there is a great importance in us coming together, in unity, as we embark on the difficult task of educating kids. I feel that breakfast alone is not enough to begin a school year. I feel we need more than just that.
I hope you all had a great summer. Mine was pretty amazing. I’d like to start today by thanking all of you because WE did it! My daughter, your student, has begun the next leg of her educational journey at Florida Atlantic University (which I am hoping will not be hit by Hurricane Dorian – which right now looks like it will be a direct hit). I know that the human she has become is a result of the wonderful work you all do every day. Well, I guess I deserve some credit here too. But, this is not about me! Anyway, taking the time to know our students. Building relationships. Being supportive. Being KIND. I have learned from my daughter that those experiences she had with you, when she felt cared for and supported and received your kindness – that’s when she blossomed, and that’s when she learned. That is when she worked harder, tried a little more (I don’t want to get to crazy here). Let’s be honest, she didn’t always remember what you taught but I assure you, she always remembered when you were kind.
The inspiration for my remarks today come not only from Lainey but from Twitter and our colleagues Colette Hardy and her amazing KIND artwork and Jenny Taggert’s tweet to the SPARK committee – all about Kindness.
In an article, Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying, the work by Patty O'Grady, an expert in neuroscience and education, outlined how kindness is a critical component to student success in school. She highlights things we already know – but are certainly worth repeating.
Meryl Fordin, writes to keep you informed of the happenings in the EWTA as well as in public education; the mundane to the insane.