Joe Prosek

In a few weeks, on Nov. 13-17, 2017, the 96th annual American Education Week will be celebrated. This is an opportunity for all stakeholders to celebrate public education and honor the individuals who work so hard to make a positive difference in the lives of students, as well as working to ensure they are receiving a quality education. We have all heard the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This proverb is so true in terms of educating our students, because it truly takes a “village” to teach and support our students. As principal of Lodi Middle School, I see the positive impact that teachers, educational support professionals, substitute educators and parents/guardians make on a daily basis. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of these individuals for the positive impact that they make.

As adults, many of us can attribute a direction we took in life to a teacher that ignited a passion within us or provided guidance during a critical time. Teachers can have a notable, lifelong impact on their students. The impact not only involves the teaching of academic skills, but also building student self-confidence and self-esteem. Teachers provide a sense of security and consistency that students may lack in other areas of their life. Teaching comes with many daily challenges and generally does not provide much instant gratification. Planning, instruction, grading, and meetings are just a few of the daily responsibilities of teachers. I truly appreciate and thank teachers for everything that they do to make students successful and the positive impact that they have on their lives.

I can’t imagine what the school day would look like without bus drivers, educational assistants, food service, custodians, office assistants and other educational support professionals that help ensure the school runs efficiently and effectively. These individuals bring a vast wealth of knowledge, passion, excitement, and experience to their positions and play a critical role within the school community. I have witnessed the positive relationships that these individuals build with the students that are so important both socially and academically. I want to thank all education support professionals for meeting the needs of the whole student keeping them engaged, safe, healthy, and challenged.

Substitute educators play a very important and meaningful role within the schools. They understand that their main task is to help the students learn and ensure that the students receive a quality education while their formal educator is away, and they have the ability to make a positive difference. Substitutes are called early in the morning, take over lessons on short notice and are asked to work with students in which they have little to no prior experience. They do this all to ensure that quality education is maintained within the classroom. I want to thank substitute educators for being the bridge to maintaining quality programming in the schools while teachers or educational assistants are absent.

I am so fortunate to work at a school that has amazing students. They are kind, caring and compassionate. This is due in large part to their families and the values they have instilled. Parents and guardians are so important to the educational success of their students. Decades of research have shown that when parents are involved in the education of their children, students get better grades, higher test scores, increased graduation rates, have better attendance, have increased motivation and self-esteem, and there is decrease in the use of drugs and alcohol. Parents and guardians help to expand on the learning at school while enabling their students to prosper both academically and socially. By supporting, advocating, and monitoring, parental engagement ensures that their student has every opportunity for success in school. To all parents, guardians, and families, thank you for being part of the education team.

Educating our youth is a complex process that takes a “village” to do well. In Lodi we are very fortunate to have a wonderful group of teachers, educational professionals, substitute educators, and parents that work together for the success of all of our students. This is such a display of Lodi Pride! If you get the opportunity, I hope you will join me in thanking the wonderful people that work hard every day to benefit our students and ultimately the fabulous community we live in.

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