This week marks the beginning of a new school year for many across our state and country. The halls of our schools are once again filled with the excitement — and noise — that young learners bring as they enter our doors. For many, this is their first time at school. For others, this week is a return to routine with new teachers, new friends and new opportunities to learn.
Our country is unique in that we began providing a free public education in every state in 1918. No other country educates its entire K-12 population. Our system provides every child the opportunity to learn and become whatever their dreams and aspirations and hard work lead them to. No other nation offers a system where any person can aspire to be a president, astronaut, pastor, doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher or skilled worker. Our goal as educators — our calling — is to ensure the best environment possible for learning to occur. Educators in Stanly never stop working toward this goal.
I have often heard teachers only work 10 months. My experience is that they are always working toward making the learning experience even better than the prior year. Many spend hours and days looking for better or more engaging lesson plans year-round. Often, they are in their classrooms well before school opening, preparing to make this year the best year yet.
Teachers, like students, look forward to a new year, a new beginning and more success than last year. Teachers would tell you, “It takes a Village to raise a child.” Working together and seeking to be positive and supportive is the challenge that was initiated at our recent system-wide convocation. I hope our entire community will accept this challenge. Look for the positive in what Stanly County Schools is doing, and support the classroom and children. At the end of the day, it is the students that matter. They will become what we challenge them to be and help them achieve. The public education system’s success depends — as it always has — on community support.
This generation of students, teachers and parents face new challenges while having historic new opportunities. Social media and the information — good and bad — that can now be accessed will impact our students and community. As we begin this school year, safety is at the forefront of our minds as we still live in a world with both freedom and threats.
I hope that all of you will work together to make our schools the best they can be this year. The passionate teachers, custodians, bus drivers, maintenance crews and school leadership want the best for Stanly County students. Join us in making this a great year to remember.
Dr. Jeff James is the superintendent of Stanly County Schools.