Archived Story

Supt. John Jarpe: Back to school a time of questions, hopes, dreams

Published 12:00am Thursday, September 1, 2011

On Tuesday, thousands of area students will get up and head for their first day of school.
It’s opening day for public schools in Michigan. Many of them will be nervous and curious about that first day: “What will my teacher be like?” “What about the kids?” “Will I be wearing the right thing?” “Will I know how to do the work they give us?”
For kids who are brand-new to a school, the nerves and questions are multiplied. Older students will want to know how much homework teachers will give and how hard the classes will be. Teachers won’t sleep much on Monday night either. They’ll be wondering how prepared they are, what the students will be like, hoping everything runs on time and all they have planned works out OK.
Parents are also eagerly hoping that this day and this school year will be a good one for their students.  They trust us as educators to prepare their children for an uncertain future.  Working together with parents, schools can fulfill those hopes that this year will turn out to be a positive difference in their kids’ lives.
Public schools have indeed taken their share of criticism in recent years and months.  Expectations are high, laws and rules are tougher, and funding has been reduced. With all of these challenges, people still have hopes and dreams that their children’s lives will be better than their own, and the public schools can help make those dreams a reality. With teachers, parents and communities working together, we can make all the positive back-to-school hopes last way beyond the first days of school.
After 37 years as an educator and 17 before that as a student, I won’t be getting much sleep the night before opening day either. Despite some of the added concerns, I’m excited and eager to get the school year going. The kids deserve our positive energy and everyone’s effort to realize their hopes and dreams. There’s no question they’re worth it.

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