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 Little Investments

If those reading this blog are anything like me, when the school year begins there is a sense of excitement. Fall activities, new teachers, new backpacks and school supplies—I always associate the new school year as a chance for a fresh start. But after Thanksgiving, when some of the “newness” wears off and the drudgery of routine often dominates the day, I begin to feel a little less enthusiastic. This year, I was determined to change my mindset and avoid the “winter funk.”

I was immediately inspired by an assembly I attended at Charles Stones Intermediate Center. Without gimmicks or prodding, students and staff emptied their pockets of any spare change and raised an enormous amount of money for a nutrition services worker in their building whose daughter had been battling numerous medical issues. blogDuring the assembly, in which the family was present, it was pointed out that students gave pennies, nickels, and even pesos to contribute. Any little contribution made an enormous difference.

Florence Wilson Elementary School is the boundary school for a local address that houses foster students who are struggling to find placement. I equate the house to a modern-day temporary orphanage for kids. The staff at FW school felt horrible that students placed there often came with a plastic grocery bag with one change of clothes. The principal and staff purchased duffel bags that will be filled with clothes as well as wish-list items that those children can now take with them when they leave the placement. A special abilities class at Garden City High School used some of their work program dollars to also contribute by purchasing board games and craft supplies that can stay at the house so the children have things to do when school is not in session. To take things another step, a local restaurant is making sure the students have a meal at the house on Christmas Eve. These little gestures, where multiple people contribute, are huge for the children who have no family or sole possessions.

Sometimes we lack extra time in our day to work with others as shown in the above examples. However, there are ways to make little, individual differences that are at no cost, nor do they require extra time:

  • When sending an email, start and/or end with a positive message. I appreciate all that you do.
  • Lead a meeting with everyone sharing something positive about the day. The tone of the meeting will be set for the better.
  • Instead of sending an email of thanks or recognition, make a phone call or personal visit instead. Making little extra effort demonstrates the value in the person.

Every day we are bombarded with negative news and headlines about how school-aged kids are selfish and not involved with the community. Today’s headlines also give those in the teaching profession minimal respect. I beg to differ. I only mentioned a few examples above, but I believe every school in this community makes it a point to show compassion for others. And our students know that even a little effort can mean the world to someone else. I challenge each and every one of us, over the course of the dreary winter months, to follow the example of the students at Charles Stones Intermediate Center, Florence Wilson Elementary, and all of the schools in Garden City; make it a point to do something, big or little, for someone else. It will make a difference.         

Renee Scott
Assistant Superintendent, USD 457
@reneeflaxscott (twitter)

Posted by scottr On Wednesday,20 December, 2017 at 7:49 AM  19 Comments

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