I love the fall. The beauty is reflected with leaves falling, cooler climate and less lawn mowing.
I use September to plant seeds that will, hopefully, germinate into grass in the spring when the cold moves away. I have learned through the years that proper timing of planting, fertilizing and watering is the path to a successful lawn. Whenever I take shortcuts (for example, planting seed in the late spring or early summer), the results are not as good.
This metaphor can be applied to our work as educators. Society has historically measured school success by number of graduates, ACT scores and winning sports teams. Many school districts meet goals by addressing weaknesses, developing interventions during the school years when we identify visible evidence of pending failure. Though definitely necessary, this has always seemed “too little too late.”
However, I sense a sea change happening in education. And I believe the beginning of that change is evident in the investment in programs like our new Educare facility: serving our neediest children in the first-of-a-kind all day, everyday, year round pre-school. Our partnership – with Lincoln Public Schools, the University of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska Foundation, Community Action Network and the Buffett Early Childhood Fund – will allow us to begin planting those success seeds early in the educational cycle. And that means positively altering the academic growth cycle for our children. While we won’t see the fruits of the harvest for at least 13 years, I believe the results will demonstrate to our policymakers the importance of increasing our investment in early childhood. (The groundbreaking for the Educare project will be held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the future site of the new program next to Belmont Elementary School, 3425 N. 14th St.)
Planning also continues on the rebuilding of LPS District Offices. On Tuesday, Oct. 25, the Lincoln Board of Education will select the site for a new facility, and the construction process will commence. I know many of our LPSDO team members are anxious to see the rebuilding begin. For me, it is important to move this project forward so we can continue our important work in some of the most significant issues in our school district: securing sustainable funding for the Community Learning Centers, addressing the rapid student growth (read Journal Star Editorial, October 12th) and adopting and implementing a district-wide strategic plan. There is plenty of productive work ahead.
I continue to enjoy visiting our schools, gaining an appreciation for the great work taking place in our classrooms. Thanks for all you do.