It’s hard to believe the 2019 – 2020 school year is about to begin. Even though the 2018 – 2019 school year was extended due to an unbelievable winter, with numerous cancelations, the year went by very fast, and as normal, there were some challenges but also some outstanding accomplishments. Take for an example the High School Music Concert that was held on Monday, December 17, 2018. What an amazing night for our students, teachers, parents and all of those that were in attendance. This was a spectacular evening that really showed what our students can accomplish. Mr. Eley and Mr. Haselhuhn “orchestrated” an event that was highlighted with outstanding performances of some very difficult music. In my opinion, this was a perfect example of teachers setting very high expectations for our students, and our students stepping up to the challenge!! The hard work and dedication that was put into this culminating event was second to none and we should be very proud of everyone that had a part in it.
As superintendent, I have the opportunity to visit a variety of classrooms and see first-hand what our students are doing and have found that our teachers are continually challenging them to expand their skills and knowledge. In November, I was invited to attend Mr. Huss’ Statistics Class at the high school to observe presentations from his students. They had worked in cooperative groups to address a real-life issue within our community. One group spent time with a local small business owner to see how they could improve their business. This group conducted interviews, administered surveys, and collected a variety of data. They analyzed this information and then provided feedback to the business owner, and their classmates, about what they thought could be done to improve that individual business. They offered their suggestions and then left it to the business owner to decide if they wanted to make any changes in their business practices. Another group looked at ways the downtown area of Anamosa could be improved. They were specifically focusing on what businesses could be established in our downtown that would add interest and attract people to that area and our community. Through their research, they determined that an ice-cream store was the number one business people felt would attract others to visit the downtown area. These are fantastic examples of the work that goes on every day in every one of our classrooms and I commend our teachers and students for their amazing efforts.
We have GREAT things happening at Anamosa Schools, and my hope is that we pay more attention to promoting the positive aspects versus the negative. However, as a society, it seems as if we focus more on the negative things that happen and forget about the positives. With social media, we live in a world of instant information and seem to gravitate towards the things that create the most “drama”. We tweet, instant message, snap chat, and use Facebook as our own personal “soap boxes” to spread whatever information we want, and many don’t seem to care about the impact it has on others and/or our community. There are times when all of us have made mistakes by saying something or doing something that we regretted after the fact, but does that mean others should blast their opinions of the situation out over social media? I don’t believe so… If we are going to be a productive community that prepares our students for a better tomorrow, why don’t we start by being more respectful and kinder to each other? Let those that are directly affected by these given situations a chance to learn from their miscues and make corrections; instead of chastising them over social media and creating a very negative and toxic environment. I’m not saying that we ignore bad or inappropriate behavior in any fashion, in fact, I believe we must address it immediately, however, we need to realize there are appropriate ways of dealing with these types of issues that are considerate to all of those involved. Please trust that as a school, we will deal with situations as they arise according to our policies and procedures, based on the factual information we have; which may or may not be the same information people have heard from social media or out in the public.
As adults and community members, we owe it to our children/students to portray appropriate behavior and help guide our young people in making better decisions as they transition into adulthood. This is the case whether we are attending a game and disagree with an official’s call, or even if we are voicing our opinion on social media. In turn, we will develop a stronger community and school culture that will be the standard others seek to achieve.
In the coming year, I ask that you think twice before posting anything on social media that could be construed as negative or disrespectful to others, and I also ask that when you attend a game or school function you show others the same level of respect that you would want to be treated with.
Together we can make the 2019 – 2020 school year an unforgettable year that will be enjoyed by everyone.