At Our Core and In Our Hearts
It is not my intent to make a political statement or offer a political spin to the "superintendent's message". However, I have to be honest, one of the most impactful speeches I have heard in a long time was the one delivered by Michelle Obama in July, 2016. She truly gave a riveting speech about strength, diversity and unity. As she was speaking, I continued to see each of us and all of us within the Okemos Public Schools.
In the spirit full disclosure, while taking some "artistic" license, I am using many of Michelle Obama's words and certainly much of her content.
Doesn't this sound like what we do? Who we are? What we believe? What's at our core and in our hearts? Doesn't it reflect all of us (educators, parents/guardians, community members) who interact with youth in such an important and relevant way?
We form the foundation for who children will become! How well we manage their experience can truly make or break them.
Our words and actions matter.
We fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.
We give back even when we're struggling ourselves.
We are relentless in our efforts to make a difference in their lives.
We teach our children that everyone in the classroom, school, district, community and country matters.
When challenges hit, we don't turn against each other. Instead, we listen to each other, we lean on each other, because we are always stronger together.
Each of us within the Okemos Public Schools have always moved public education forward, and ultimately society forward by all of us coming together on behalf of our children. We know the importance of our individual and collective roles and contributions. With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our children are watching us. We, as educators and parents/guardians, are the most important role models for our children.
We cannot afford to be tired or frustrated or cynical with those who see public education differently and often impose their will. Instead, we will continue to pour every last ounce of our passion, our strength and our love into our journey of educating all children.
The essence of Michelle Obama's speech truly describes who we are, what is at our core and what is in our hearts, describing our beliefs and our values. It's imperative that our commitment includes sustaining and enhancing these efforts utilizing the lens of cultural competency and responsiveness. We will be identifying actionable strategies to ensure the vision captured in our Equity Plan (March, 2016) becomes a reality for our students. That is truly how we will positively impact the lives of ALL of our children in a meaningful and relevant way. It's not one more thing to do, but a lens through which we must do everything! It's what is in our hearts, and enhanced by our strength and sense of unity!
There's an old African proverb that says "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." I look forward to continuing our journey together, educating with excellence, inspiring learners for life!