Executive Director Dr. Kathy Wiebke, NBCT, reflects on American Education Week and the variety of people that make a school successful.Nov 16, 2020
They say it takes a village to raise a child and nowhere is this more evident than in America’s public schools. When most of us think of America’s public schools, we conjure up images of teachers and students. But in reality, our schools are comprised of more than this, and I am not speaking of things like chalkboards and desks.
The unsung heroes of our schools are those who operate in the shadows. They are the school bus drivers who transport your child, whether it be to and from school or on a field trip. They are the school secretaries and attendance clerks who are often the intermediary between parents and the teacher or principal. They are the first ones to greet you when you enter and make sure messages are delivered. Inside our schools, you will find the principal and, perhaps, an assistant principal, both who provide the leadership necessary for a school to thrive, and, if you are really lucky, you will find a school nurse and perhaps a social worker to attend to the physical and mental health of the students. Then there are the food service workers who make sure children are fed and, for many of our students, provide the only meals that student will eat on any given day. There are the paraprofessional educators who work alongside teachers to assist in the education of our students with disabilities or who need additional support. Of course, there are the myriad of classroom and school aides who supervise children on the playground. At every school crosswalk, you will find the crossing guard making sure children safely cross the street. There are grounds people and cleaning crews who are there to keep schools safe and beautiful. And, whether you are a large urban district or small rural school, there are people at the district office who take care of the business of running schools so that those working inside of those schools can attend to the business of teaching and learning.
I used to work for a superintendent that said the most important work of the school district happened in the 900 square feet we call a classroom. I don’t disagree with him because that truly is the most important work but there are a lot of people who help make that work happen on a daily basis. Like teachers, they too have been entrusted with the safety and welfare of the children.
Today kicks off National Education Association’s annual American Education Week, an opportunity to recognize the variety of roles that make a school community thrive. As we celebrate American Education Week, we must always remember that it does takes a village to raise and teach a child.