Starting the greatest school year ever

By Larry Sutton Contributing columnist

August 17, 2014

With our caring and effective teachers assembling tomorrow, mindful of the enormous influence they have on improving educational outcomes for all students, and with our school administrators’ assurance that our “kids are going to get a top-notch educational experience,” we are just a week away from starting the greatest school year ever.

This may sound like an awesome challenge, but with everyone working together, it can be done. And a good place to start is in the home, with parents instilling in their children and youth the importance of education to their futures, by simply saying, “no education, no future.” This is the message that must be drilled home over and over, letting our young people know that they must never settle for “just getting by.” To borrow from Deut. 6:7, parents, you must remind your children of the importance of education “when thou sittest in thine house, when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

There is no getting around the fact that parents should take a more active role in their children’s education. They should make sure their children come first and convey to them the message: “The school is your friend and hope for the future.”

For those parents who become more engaged with their children’s education, they find those positive parent-teacher interactions become a major ingredient for a child’s success. All the research suggests that “when a child knows parents and teachers are regularly working together, the child will see that education is a high priority requiring commitment and effort.”

The effort parents make early on in the school year — hopefully on the first day — to be involved and engaged in their children’s education might inspire their children to work harder at fulfilling their full potential and encourage them to keep on keeping on. One thing’s for certain, it won’t hurt to show more interest in your children’s schooling. It just might help put them on a path to a better future, while inspiring them to assume greater personal responsibility as well.

Unfortunately, as we prepare to start this new and challenging school year, we have to remember that too many of our students will enter school already behind. With this shameful truth in mind, what do we do to reaffirm our American belief that “all children deserve an education worthy of their promise?”

What do we do to get to where we all want to be in regard to fulfilling the promise of equitable, high-quality education for all? We say we believe all children can learn. Now, we must help our young people commit to their own education and finish school.

The superintendent of Sampson County Schools, Dr. Eric Bracy, had it right when he said, “It will take our teachers, our parents, our community members, all of us telling our success stories over and over so that kids understand that they, too, can achieve.” We cannot let any of our youth think that we have given up on helping them become successful.

Again, let’s make 2014-14 the greatest school year ever, with everyone serving to validate our students’ dreams and aspirations, letting our children know they “can rise beyond where they are in spite of the circumstances.”