Appreciating our teachers | Guest commentary

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and I want to encourage each of you to take some time to thank your teachers, or thank a teacher you know for all the work they do each day in our classrooms.

No matter where life’s journey has taken us, we all remember our teachers.

It doesn’t matter if you graduated from high school 50, or just five years ago, most people can point to one or two individual teachers  who said what we needed to hear at just the right time in our lives.  They opened the world to us and helped us realize our potential and we hear their voice again in our memories.

For me it was Mrs. Hotten who taught me high school English. In order to practice extemporaneous speaking, she had the entire class go outside and learn to play tennis.

She knew the experience would give us all plenty to talk about!

We have 1,733 teachers in KSD. Over 1,200 have advanced degrees and all of our teachers have been rated as “Highly Qualified” by the state of Washington.

We should note the incredible opportunities they create every day for our kids.  With more than 135 languages spoken across our district, our teachers are faced with an increasingly diverse student population and all of the wonderful opportunities that brings.  Think of it, our student population looks like the world, full of differing languages, cultures, and customs and our teachers are preparing those students to be a part of a global economy.

Our diversity gives our students an introduction to the real world of work.

Our technology gives them a head start on the modern workforce.  And, our teachers give our students that spark of hope and enthusiasm, that fire of knowledge, and that confidence and preparation they will need to be successful in the 21st century.

It is not easy work.  KSD is like every school district in Washington; we are being asked to do more with less as state and federal resources and educational support decline.

Yet, there are higher and higher levels of accountability and expectation for our educators.

In KSD, our teachers are answering the call.  Our test scores are up.  Our graduation levels are up.  Our number of schools being recognized for their innovation and achievement is increasing.  And the opportunity gap between our majority and minority students is decreasing with all subgroups doing better.  These successes are due to the hard work of our staff members, our students, our families, and our community, but it is our teachers who rightfully take the greatest measure of responsibility and pride.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and approximately 28,000 students we serve, please join me in offering a heartfelt thanks to KSD teachers for their passion, commitment, and dedication this week and every day as they successfully prepare all students for their future.


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