2015-04-23 / Youth

What makes a district successful

Education notes
Sharon McKinney

Sharon McKinney Sharon McKinney What do you believe? No matter what career you are in, (just like in all of life, really) what you believe about it determines your behavior, priorities, and goals. Educators are asked to formulate and articulate their philosophy many times, first as part of a bachelors, masters, doctorate or administrator coursework, and again as part of a working resume. It’s good to revisit your philosophy frequently to remind yourself what is important, and why.

Derived from a quote attributed to Aristotle, it has been said that:

“Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.”

I believe that our students deserve nothing less than an excellent education to lay the foundation for a successful life. An excellent education means more than memorization of facts or passing grades on a report card or a state test—it is teaching our students to think logically and creatively, to seek out appropriate resources and evaluate their effectiveness in order to solve problems, to create goals for themselves and to make informed choices to help them reach their goals. It also includes supporting families in teaching our young people to be good citizens, respected co-workers and reliable friends.

The most important factor influencing student learning is the learning environment. To achieve a learning environment that structures all students for success, a school district must:

Have the finest educators

Our students need educators who are experts in their fields, have a genuine love for young people and a desire to see all students be successful. These dedicated educators need adequate resources, a voice in decision making, learning opportunities to increase their skills and knowledge, and a positive, supportive workplace. They also need an administrative structure that allows them to focus on teaching and learning and they need adequate compensation for the important work they do. We are blessed at Port Aransas ISD to have dedicated professionals who are content and instructional experts and who truly care about their students.

Have suitable facilities and resources

Our students need safe, clean and comfortable classrooms with adequate resources for academic learning as well as extracurricular pursuits. Our staff members need the resources to implement innovative learning and our students deserve the opportunity to learn using a variety of means, including those afforded by modern technology. We are blessed at Port Aransas ISD to have the Port Aransas Education Foundation and many other community organizations that partner with us to maximize learning and to have true community schools with a common vision.

Lead by example

The district should inspire confidence among all stakeholders by being proactive in communication, transparent in budgeting and finances, and a role model for professionalism. We are blessed at Port Aransas ISD to have a school board that expects the district to model integrity and professionalism within our district and our community.

I believe that all students can learn, and that our role as educators is to help students not only learn, but also to believe that they can learn and achieve beyond what they think are limitations. We accomplish excellence in education by having high expectations, and enthusiastic support and superior instruction to help students meet those expectations. We do not make nor allow for excuses, but look for solutions and ways to help every student reach their fullest potential, and thus have the best school district ever.

“America’s future walks through the doors of our schools every day.” —Mary Jane LeTendre

I believe educators can and will impact that future. I believe and insist that Port Aransas ISD students have a bright one.

Sharon McKinney is the principal at Port Aransas High School.

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