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New school year means fresh start

New school year means fresh start

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 7:01 pm
By: Gera Summerford, TEA

A new school year is underway for most school districts across the state. The start of a new year always brings with it a sense of a new beginning. Students have a clean slate, teachers welcome new students in their classrooms and we all have the opportunity to renew our commitment to public education in Tennessee.
The State Department of Education has been touting the exciting gains in TCAP scores all across the state in recent weeks. Those scores are a direct result of the hard work of our teachers and students. In spite of the many challenges we face every day, teachers remain deeply committed to the success of every child in their classrooms.
To have continued success, our students and teachers need your help. We must all work together to help our students and our schools achieve all we can expect of them.  
Tennessee requires a minimum of 180 school days – almost exactly 50 percent of the calendar year. On school days, students spend less than half of their waking hours at school. This means students spend less than one-fourth of each year in school, and all the rest in their homes and in the community. Teachers, parents, community members and elected officials all contribute to student success.
Parents and community members can reinforce what is taught in the classroom. It is important for students to learn the value of respect, responsibility and a love of learning. Families who value education and encourage their child’s learning will realize success.
Elected officials at all levels also play an important role in public education. Many new school board members were elected last week and many new state legislators will be elected in the fall. Schools need their help in providing the tools and resources needed for student – and teacher – success.
Together, I am confident we can continue to move public education in the right direction. I know we share the common goal of a qualified, committed teacher in every classroom and academic success for every student.
On behalf of Tennessee’s teachers, I invite you into our classrooms. I invite you to be a partner with your local teachers. I invite you to work with us to ensure every child receives the quality education he or she deserves. I hope you will join me in renewing our commitment to great public schools in Tennessee.
Editor’s note: Gera Summerford is a high school math teacher in Sevier County and currently serves as president of the Tennessee Education Association. The Tennessee Education Association is the state’s largest professional organization representing over 46,000 elementary and secondary teachers, school administrators, education support professionals, higher education faculty, and students preparing to become teachers.

WCP 8.09.12

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