Go Back to School

The following is a message from Summit Education Initiative Executive Director Derran Wimer. It appears in the February 2017 “Align & Engage” enewsletter.

I had the urge to write about today’s political climate and its effects on our kids. As I was thinking about that sobering topic, I kept visualizing being in a school building. That was a good feeling. In fact, when I was in a central office job in a school district and things were growing negative, I would just leave the office and go to a school. Instant relief.

When was the last time you were in a school? I don’t mean for a conference, open house, concert or a sporting event. I mean in a school during the school day. When the building is teeming with students and staff – energized with activity. It is amazing. Your senses come alive with the pulse and 

rhythm of the school. It is invigorating, overwhelming, energizing and exhausting – but most of all caring and yes, loving.

You really should go back to school. The students want you there. They really do. They want to show you what they can do. The staff wants you there. They can use the extra sets of hands and eyes. Most importantly, your presence and involvement send a message to the students: “We love you and care about you, and we will invest our time in your success.” The students are perceptive. They are watching us, and they learn from our actions.

Our actions, just showing up at their school and helping out, demonstrates that we care. The kids hear our talks about the importance of education. When they see the adults in the community actually walk that talk, it becomes impactful. Students appreciate adults who walk the talk, side-by-side, with them. Gradually, they feel like someone else believes in them.

I don’t know about you, but when I sense someone believes in me, I feel stronger; I feel I am not alone and that I just may be able to accomplish something big. I suspect this is true for our kids as well. Someone – maybe it’s you – showing up and believing in a student can make him or her feel stronger and lend the confidence to keep working hard.

Go back to school. It’s a sure-fire antidote for today’s fracturing politics and you’ll be making a lasting impact on a young person. That’s a day well spent.