Lesson Learned "New Year’s Day"


New Year’s Day creates a natural pause during which traditionally I consider resolutions. This is a meaningful exercise even when the ability to self-actualize may be limited. Certainly, as an elected member of the Upshur County Schools Board of Education, I am looking at BOE service as vital. No other task is more important than the education of our children and grandchildren.

How can I increase my serve?

Recently, Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus, Upshur County Schools Superintendent, emphasized the importance of New Year Resolutions when she inspired us with her declaration: “As we do this important work, it can be challenging and very rewarding.” She continued by sharing a Dr. Seuss quote, “Today, I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.” Personalizing this quote, our Superintendent observed, “The quote struck me. Creating positive memories for the students (and staff) in Upshur County Schools is important. Our hope is to create memories of kindness, justice and meaningful learning. These positive moments should serve as inspiration to do great things in the future.” 

Then our dedicated leader further observed a second Dr. Seuss quote that is applicable: “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” Being a realist, Dr. Stankus stated she would like to encourage us to remember our resolve to improve academic performance of our students: “As we focus on improvement, we have so many staff who are working hard. Our student achievement does not reflect the hard work of our students and staff. With a renewed focus on teaching and learning, we will and can change that reflection! The assessment is our reflection, not our goal.”

Just to reflect a bit—how appropriate to quote Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who published over 60 children’s books over the course of his long career. And to remember his big struggle to self-actualize. He submitted his original book to 27 publishers, being horribly rejected before anyone took him seriously. Now Dr. Seuss is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time. His books have been on many bestseller lists, have sold over 222 million copies, and have been translated into more than 15 languages. A Publisher’s Weekly list of the best-selling children’s books of all time included 16 by Dr. Seuss. 

Now to focus on our goal!

Dr. Sara Stankus inspires us to set high goals: “Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained, and to be delighted.” And Dr. Seuss comes right back at me: “I don’t write for children; I write for people. Once a writer starts talking down to kids he’s lost. Kids can pick up on that kind of thing.”

We are setting goals in each of our seven elementary schools: Buckhannon Academy Elementary School, French Creek Elementary School, Hodgesville Elementary School, Rock Cave Elementary School, Tennerton Elementary School, Union Elementary School and Washington District Elementary School; and in Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, Buckhannon-Upshur High School, and Fred Eberle Technical Center. They are challenging goals thanks to our Central Office professionals and our principals.

However, I’m listening carefully to Dr. Seuss, who says, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

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