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Campus Connection - Back to School

Article Date: 
19 August, 2011 (All day)


The Morgan Valley has been carpeted with lush green for most of the summer and the hills and valleys continue to clothe in the colors of summer.  It’s hard to imagine that school will be back in session next week!  Following are some random thoughts about the upcoming year and what we can expect to see as the year progresses.

“Annie” the musical will open the theatrical year for us.  The show will run August 25, 26, 27, and 29.  The cast will include students of all ages as well as community members.  Director Adam Slee and his crew promise an outstanding show that will set the stage for a great school year.  Proceeds from the production will go towards supplementing the special education budget and assisting these students in their education progression.  It will be a show to remember and a cause that touches all of our hearts.

Progress on the Trojan Century Center and the transportation facility continues and both facilities should be operational by the spring of 2012.  These new additions will enhance the opportunities for our students and be of benefit to the community as well.  The Morgan Education Foundation continues their efforts to raise funds for the Center and recently announced that community members, local businesses, and outside concerns have given $400,000 thus far for the project.  The Foundation is working to raise an additional $180,000 and have announced a “100 for $1000” campaign directed towards alumni and friends of Morgan High School.  Their intent is for 100 members of the community, including families to donate $1000 each towards the Center.  These donors will be recognized inside the Center and honored at a special dedicatory ceremony and open house.

Sixteen new teachers have joined our staff this summer.  They range from kindergarten teachers to high school English teachers.  They bring with them a cornucopia of experiences and each will add to the quality of our educational system.  In fact, some of them were so excited to join our staff that they broke down in tears when they heard the news of their hiring!

Dressing for success can assist in student learning.  During my career I have taken note of student dress and the effect it can have on a student’s success.  As a general rule, students who dress modestly and keep their clothes neat and clean, seem to perform at a higher level in the classroom than their classmates who dress at the extremes.  Being overly fashion conscious can be distracting to the student wearing the clothing as well as distracting to those around them.  In these challenging economic times it is difficult for some parents to justify paying $100 for designer jeans when a pair of traditional jeans cost under $30.  While I have no scientific evidence to back my claim I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that a $100 pair of jeans has no direct correlation with a student’s ability to succeed in school if all other factors such as age, family background, and socio-economic status are considered.

Parents are welcome to visit our schools throughout the year.  While each school has scheduled parent/teacher conferences for the year, that doesn’t mean parents are not welcome to check up on their students and teachers when they feel it is important to do so.  Parents who take an active role in their child’s education have a positive impact on the academic and behavioral performance of the child.  It’s generally too late when final grades are posted for parents to suddenly become involved.  We are here to serve you and the student.  When you feel it is important to speak with a teacher or administrator, call and make an appointment to do so.  We welcome your involvement.

Extra-curricular activities in public education were designed to supplement the classroom experience not vice-versa.  One of my greatest professional moments occurred last year at the Regional Sterling Scholar competition.  Eleven of our fourteen candidates were recognized as winners or runner-ups in the competition.  It was one of the best showings by any school in the region since the inception of the contest.  Amongst the winners were Morgan High athletes, musicians, and performers.  What did these students have in common? Academics were a priority in their lives.  I love to watch an intense football game against a rival school and enjoy the white-knuckle excitement of a basketball game that goes down to the last shot.  I love to see how these activities help shape our youth.  In my 35 years of service in public education I cannot name one of my former students who went on to a lucrative career in professional sports; I can however, name many that went on to successful careers in education, law and business.  Please instill a love for learning in your children.

Finally, average in the Morgan County School District is simply not good enough.  We live in an increasingly competitive world market.  As taxpayers of this county you should expect the educational system to perform at a level that exceeds state and national averages.  Our teachers and administrators should be expected to challenge students and help lift them to do their best in the classroom and on the field of play.  Our support staff should provide clean buildings, nutritious meals, safe buses, and welcoming offices.  Our mission points the way, and we should do everything in our power to accomplish this mission with the help of parents and the community.  It reads:

The Morgan County School District Community stands united in the pursuit of educational excellence.  It is our mission to create a challenging learning environment that emphasizes literacy and numeracy.  We seek to assist students as they prepare for responsible citizenship, meaningful work, advanced education, and life-long learning.