One of our core beliefs in Worthington Schools is “Be Kind to Kids.” It doesn’t matter whether the child is five years old or 17 years old we must be cognizant that our students are still developing, they should be treated with respect, and they should be scaffolded with adult support until they are ready to find success on their own. We express this simple core belief as “Be Kind to Kids.”
Last week I was reminded yet again of why this belief is so important throughout our school district. One of our central office administrators has an incredible heart for helping families and thus this person took a vacation day on Wednesday afternoon in order to deliver some holiday meals to families in our school district who needed assistance. The goal was to provide a full holiday meal as well as some supplies that would get the family through December. In addition, this administrator wanted to purchase a new winter coat for each child in the house but needed to talk with the family about sizes, preferences, etc…
When the administrator entered the house it became obvious that several families were living under the same roof. In all there were nine school age children in this home and our educator was drawn to talking with the students. The students were unaware that this adult had any connection with the school district and they talked freely about their experiences in school. After listening for quite some time the administrator told the elementary age students that he knew their principal and that the principal told them that she loves them. The eyes of the young children lit up. They exclaimed, “You know our principal? And…she loves us!” The words struck a chord with the children and they were obviously proud of this statement.
But, here’s the part that really resonated with me. A high school age student from the house was standing nearby and overheard this conversation. She said to our administrator “ Sir, I went to that elementary school just three years ago, do you think she knows me and loves me too?” The question was asked with total sincerity and with the hope that the answer was the same. Our administrator assured her it was indeed.
As a school district our job is to help all of our students learn and grow to their full potential. But sometimes that job begins simply. Sometimes it begins with knowing that the principal (or other trusted school staff) loves you and cares about you. It’s not just our elementary age students that need to know this. It’s all of our students. Our high school students need the same love and attention that our elementary students need. They won’t always express that need in appropriate ways but the need is real and the desire for connection is the same.
As a school district we’re committed to being kind to kids. We’ll hold them to high standards, we’ll push them to achieve, sometimes we’ll have to discipline them, but we’ll work to make sure they know that in everything we do, their schools care about them and want what’s best for them. That’s our goal this holiday season and throughout the school year.
- Trent Bowers, Superintendent