I am the parent of two fairly recent district graduates who have gone on to thrive in their respective colleges. I was active in my children’s schools at all levels as part of a wave of parents who created wonderful collaborations with school staff and each other to continually improve the school cultures for all involved (students, staff and parents). It was on the whole, a very positive and rewarding experience. I took this last year off to catch my breath but recently attended one of the bond focus groups and have had some conversations about what is going on in our district that seem to be the antithesis of what so many of us worked so hard to create.
So, I have a request. I wonder if this fall we might all find it within ourselves to actually intend that the Freshman Learning Center be a rousing success. Whatever your views about the FLC, the truth is that this transition for students in their educational journey is a very important one. The FLC allows a unique opportunity to really attend to this transition and teach our kiddos about transition in general, since it is an ongoing fact of life. Part of how we do that is by what we model as adults and community. Part of how we do that is by giving the administration, staff and the students our full support. By letting the staff and administration have some breathing room to give this a go. There are so many ways this could be brilliant for our kids now and into the future, if we come alongside it and collaborate and partner for its success even while we grapple with the broader issues.
I spent several years as part of the diversity and respect team at the high school. Towards the end of my participation we had a series of conversations with students about what gets in the way of their ability to thrive in their schooling, and what actually helps. Almost to a person, they said that what made the difference in their ability to succeed and thrive was the interest of at least one adult in their life. What if, in addition to that one adult there was a whole community surrounding the FLC—students, staff, administration—intending that everyone have the opportunity, support and freedom to transition well, grow, develop, succeed and thrive? On Sept. 4 and throughout this next year, let’s truly come together for what is best for kids, all kids, and for the people who make their life’s calling about our kids.
Jane Ellen Seymour
North Bend parent