By Sarah Ostergaard
As summer winds down and families gear up to return to school, we look forward to a new school year fresh with opportunity. Hopefully, backpacks are being filled with supplies, the wardrobe is being refreshed with new pieces, after school arrangements are made, schedules are shared, and excitement grows. What will this school year be like?
This school year will become what we make it; our schools are a reflection of us.
Families and educators are partners in raising the next generation. Families and community members rely on schools and, also, schools rely on those same families and community members. When there is a positive relationship, the children flourish. How to foster that positive relationship? Time. But time can seem in short supply. Time can seem like something only others have, a privilege, or something you will have tomorrow. But the cliché is true: we make time for what matters. And I hope we agree: schools, educators, children matter.
“Upon the subject of education … I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
While not everyone has hours to spare, everyone does have time to support. Being involved with a local school does not have to be time-consuming or burdensome. Read the community newsletter (it is likely also on the school website). Make a plan to attend a sporting and/or arts event at the local high school in an evening. Send an encouraging email or handwritten note to a teacher, administrator, or school staff member just because. Think about it: we make time to send the email when things are not going well. Can we also make time to do the same when things are going well?
Wear spirit wear for your favorite school. It is amazing how many people say “I went to [school name]” when I’m wearing my favorite local school’s logo on a shirt. Or you can start the trend: say something kind to a stranger wearing your favorite local school’s shirt – why not? An “I like your shirt and I support [school name] too.” is a community-building opportunity. We see our schools torn down often enough on social media so let’s create opportunities to build up.
If you do have an hour or a few more, there is no lack of opportunity for that time. School organizations need treasurers, graphics designers, and workers; our athletics teams need announcers, referees, and fundraising organizers; our arts programs need sponsors, mentors, and people to fill the seats.
Although hours may be in short supply, let’s make time for what really matters. Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year – let’s make it a great one. Our schools are our future.