New friends have been made and lessons learned. Testing has come and gone. Scholarships have been awarded and tassels turned, as has the last page on another school year. And what a year it has been!
As I have reflected on the past ten months, I can count so many success stories within our district – good things are definitely happening in Grayson County Schools. Our teachers and staff have reached new levels in adapting to completely revised standards. Our students are thriving as they receive a quality education to prepare them for college and career. They are succeeding both inside and outside the classroom, on local, regional, state and national stages.
The common thread interwoven into all the exceptional moments of the past year – and those before - is the overwhelming support of our community. It’s this support - the relationships and partnerships built as a result - that provides our students a much richer experience now, and will shape their outlook into adulthood.
Just this past year so many partnerships have influenced Grayson County Schools and its students. Businesses and industry, government and social agencies, parents and friends provide continual support as volunteers, as mentors and financially - both in and outside the classroom. These relationships benefit our students in particular and our community as a whole, laying the groundwork for the next generation and their world view.
Vital as they are, it’s not just the volunteers who give hundreds of man-hours to our in- and out-of-school programs. There is also the financial component that our school, booster and other groups rely on to give our kids the extra, often non-academic experiences that also grow their talents and skills. These help lead them in new directions, opening young minds to any number of doors they may choose to enter in the future.
I know only too well that much is asked of this community in terms of this type of support, but it’s all part of the road that leads to success for our kids and, in turn, for our community.
Our students feel their community support, and know it serves as a cornerstone in their various journeys. As the future citizens and community leaders they will become, they have seen firsthand what ‘giving back’ can truly mean. That influence now will come full circle as they mature and take their turn in the leadership seat.
It’s true that state and other funding is decreasing each year for schools. That doesn’t show any signs of letting up now or in the near future. We have planned for these decreases and will continue to provide the very best for our students. There will be no shortcuts to excellence in Grayson County Schools.
And yet while our district is financially prepared to provide the best possible education for our students, the funding you – our community friends and partners - provide through advertising, sponsorships and so much more truly helps enrich our student’s experiences and take those efforts to the next level. This year we have seen more students than ever participating and succeeding on a variety of stages and at a variety of levels. They are making names for themselves and for Grayson County. They are our future and they are learning how to succeed – in no small part thanks to you.
Working partnerships as well provide additional opportunities for our students. And it starts even before they reach our doors.
A variety of grants and their ensuing partnerships have allowed us to do so much more for students and their families. These include funding for early childhood initiatives, the Toyota bornlearning Academy, and 21st Century Learning Grants currently in place at both the Middle School and Wilkey Elementary.
A revitalized partnership with industry has helped bring a new machining program to our Technology Center to provide students with high-demand skills that are vital to our manufacturing community.
College and career events in our elementary schools brought together local businesses and industry with students and their parents to share so many of the awesome career and employment opportunities available right here at home. Several of these businesses have also opened their doors to student field trips to make the connection even more real.
Operation Preparation provided middle and high school students with one-on-one career counseling from area professionals who volunteered their time and expertise.
Partnerships with law enforcement and government agencies help ensure the safety of our children, and recent in-school drills held countywide displayed just this type of cooperation.
Ultimately all these efforts flow back into our community to make a big impact.
During the district’s reaccreditation process, a sense of “family” was called out as one of the district’s strongest assets, along with a “commitment to student advocacy and uncommon desire to build relationships that last a lifetime”. Our community relationships are strong as time and again Grayson County has demonstrated its belief that our students should have every opportunity to reach higher and to achieve more.
For this I am both proud and tremendously appreciative to have you as our MVPs – Most Valuable Partners -- true, committed members of our team. Working together we celebrate our students - and their successes - as the future of our community. Thank you for joining us on our journey of “Guiding Children to Succeed”.
To learn more visit graysoncountyschools.com and follow us on Twitter @gcboe.