Thursday, 01 August 2019 15:31

August 2019 Superintendency Message

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A message from Superintendent Jeff Stephens:

Some parents shared with me a note they discovered from their 7-year-old son who was obviously doing some personal goal-setting prior to the start of school. This little boy had carefully written the following:

  • Goof ball switch – off!
  • Be nice to new friends.
  • Don't cry (unless you're hurt).
  • Be super awesome.
  • Have fun!

Now that's a bold set of goals! Back to school is a phrase that suggests shopping for clothes, buying supplies and making new friends. For many, the anticipation of attending a new school, meeting your teacher for the first time or taking a new class can generate not only excitement, but apprehension as well. Certainly, going back to school is reason for celebration because with it comes an opportunity to learn and grow.

One of my favorite Weber District 'beginning of school' traditions is visiting each elementary classroom with members of the district leadership team and reading to children, as well as distributing Superintendent's Summer Reading Awards to those students who have read 10 books or 1,000 pages during the summer. Typically, we give out about 5,000 awards each fall. The book that I'll read in classrooms this fall is What Do You Do With A Chance? By Kobi Yamada. This is the story of some remarkable chances and a child who doesn't know quite what to do with them. However, the more chances come around the more the child's fascination grows. And then, one day, a little courage makes all the difference!

I love the question posed in the title of the book—What do you do with a chance?  As we begin a new school year there are so many chances and opportunities that are within our grasp. For students, the chance to learn, to make new friends and to achieve personal goals. Parents can volunteer their time, participate on a community council and support their child's learning at home. Principals can connect to students, support teachers and school staff and advocate for their schools. For teachers, the opportunity to influence a child, to teach an important life lesson or to acquire a new teaching skill. As we start this new school year, each of us has extraordinary opportunities in front of us—chances to make a difference. The question is, 'What will we do with a chance?'

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