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What went right — some school stories that did not get reported

August 25, 2012
By Klint Willert - Marshall Schools superintendent , Marshall Independent

We humans have a bad habit. We sometimes find ourselves focusing on the negative things in our lives and fail to recognize the positives.

Sometimes media often doesn't do much to help us in this regard. Bad news is typically more likely to get published and, as much as we might not like to admit it, we read and watch those stories. Reporters will sometimes use the terms "soft" or "fluff" for positive stories. That's a shame, because some of those stories are the most remarkable.

August 20 was the first day of school for more than 2,400 Marshall Public School District students, and a few things did not go perfectly. A few buses ran behind, and no doubt almost every student, parent and teacher had something not go right. But what about the other side of the story?

What went right?

All our transported students had a safe school bus ride to and from school. Our buses cover thousands of miles each day (our district is a big one!).

More than 4,000 students ate breakfast, lunch or both at school. There were healthy choices available (although more than a few cookies were eaten too). For some students these were the best meals of their day. For some students these were the only meals of the day. Taher staff and cooks are amazing.

Over 350 teachers, principals and other professional staff greeted students, helped them find their classes, began the teaching process and in general did an exceptional job. This did not happen by accident. Most teachers spend much of their summer preparing for the next school year so that things start right.

Schools were clean and grounds were taken care of (I would say "grass was mowed," but with the dry weather, we had a lot less grass than usual). Our maintenance and custodians spent the summer making sure windows were fixed, roofs were repaired, floors were waxed, and, in general, getting schools ready for kids.

Secretaries and other office staff greeted students, and we all know that as the year goes along, these people will handle thousands of jobs and virtually every one of those jobs will in some way impact students.

District administrators, principals and Board Members spent much of their time making sure the district is focused on doing what is right for students. The coordination of 2,400 students, 350 staff, and 5 school buildings does not happen by accident, and it won't happen at all if someone is not minding the switch.

I know that people will say, "Well, as the superintendent, he's paid to put a positive spin on everything." True confessions: my day did not go perfectly yesterday either, and I spent a little time dwelling on those imperfections, but after I threw my little private fit, I decided to look for the positive. This is a wonderful community in which we live, and we have very good schools. Are their problems? Of course. Are they insurmountable? No (although some are tougher to solve than others). The main thing we need to do is keep our eyes on the ball, and for Marshall Public Schools that means always doing what is in the best interest of the student.

Please feel free to share "what went right" with us from time to time. When teachers do a great job - tell them (this goes for all of us: parents, colleagues, bosses, etc.). When your kids experience success - celebrate! When you see something that needs to be improved tell those involved, and be part of the solution. Am I talking to myself as I write this? Yes, I can't help it! OK, enough, and rememberit's a GREAT day to be a Tiger!



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