Lately, I feel like public education has gotten totally beaten up.
There is so much focus on the negative.
Negative political forces.
Negative public perceptions.
But, you know what.
It's not all bad.
My district is making some incredibly positive changes.
We are consolidating our existing alternative programs into one newly purchased local building.
We are adding seats and services.
We are expanding our "International Welcome Center" for students new to the country.
We are implementing trauma-informed practices.
We are adjusting our schedule at the high school to better meet the needs of students.
As part of that schedule, we are adding an advisory program.
We are expanding our Gifted and Talented program.
The district has signed a contract with a new custodial company.
We are also bringing our bus services in house.
That means we will be providing about 30 local jobs.
We will also have more control and flexibility.
And the buses will be housed on land leased from the community.
And the buses will be serviced by local mechanics.
It won't be easy or simple to do any of these things well.
Nothing is ever perfect.
But I am still proud to be part of a place that is working for kids and community.
So, I know things are tough.
I know the world is a hairy, scary place right now.
This time of year can be plain old awful.
Testing season is horrendously stressful.
The last few weeks of the school year are filled with antsy kids and competing priorities.
That, however, doesn't mean there are some pretty great things happening.
When a teacher says to me, upon learning about all these changes,
"For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful. I feel like what we are doing will really make a difference."
It is a good thing.
Despite all the negativity, progress is being made and children are being served.