Recently, I finished re-reading Notebooks of the Mind, a fascinating book that explores how creative people think and examines the human mind working at its highest potential. In particular, one phrase caught my attention--"the legacy of distant teachers." The author, Vera John-Steiner, described the critical role that teachers play in shaping lives. I began reflecting upon the "legacy of distant teachers" who have impacted me. The list of memorable teachers was long; however, I do want to briefly mention one very special teacher—Janice Cashmore-Allen.
I opened the newspaper on New Year's Day to learn of Janice’s passing. I student taught with Janice 28 years ago at South Ogden Junior High School. Janice was a master teacher and the consummate professional. She was my friend and mentor and will be greatly missed. When I consider "the legacy of distant teachers" in my life, Janice is at the top of the list. Although no longer with us, Janice’s influence on my life continues. Therein is the legacy of a teacher!
Since becoming superintendent, I have been in dozens of classrooms throughout our district and observed numerous master teachers. Weber School District is fortunate to have dedicated, caring teachers and professionals who shape and impact children's lives. One paradox of teaching is that although typically occurring in large-group settings, the effects are always individual. Great teachers possess the capacity to connect with each student. These connections are held not in teachers' methods but in their hearts. Although the rewards of teaching are not always tangible, be assured that you will be among "the legacy of distant teachers" as your students reflect on those who have influenced them. I thank each of you for your great efforts!
"Weber School District is committed to provide educational experiences which motivate each student to become a lifelong learner, attain academic and personal potential, and enter the workforce with the necessary skills." This mission statement is our number one priority but it is noteworthy that in addition to providing academic excellence, we are also the second largest employer in Weber County, the first being the IRS. We have over thirty-three hundred caring employees that contribute a great deal to the community and economy of Weber County.
Thanks to all.
In the new Common Core State Standards Initiative, college and career-readiness standards have been incorporated into the K-12 standards which will enable educators to better prepare students for the 21st century. The Utah State Board of Education gave permission for school districts to take time to implement training of the core to educators. The WSD Board of Education granted a full school day for the purpose of training, planning, collaboration and application of the new core. On September 30, elementary and secondary educators gathered together in several different locations across the district for general and subject-specific training and teacher development. The focus of the day was centered on speaking, listening, writing and comprehension of informational text across all curricular areas. Teachers have indicated that the Common Core training day was valuable and impactful. We are currently in the process of gathering more data from educators to help determine the level of effectiveness of the training and how to improve similar trainings in the future. We appreciate the members of the WSD Board of Education for their support in allowing educators this valuable opportunity for planning and preparation, collaboration with colleagues and opportunities for growth and learning.