On behalf of the staff of New School High, I would like to thank our families for their outpouring of kindness throughout the week of May 1. In appreciation of all that they do, our staff was treated to a fabulous breakfast on Monday, a gorgeous array of desserts on Tuesday, all manner of snacks on Wednesday, a delicious lunch on Thursday, and generous gifts on Friday.
Your expression of gratitude comes at an important time. It is no secret that many who dedicate themselves to public education have become discouraged and disheartened. Vast numbers have left the profession. Schools around the nation are desperate for qualified teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and substitute teachers. In recognition of the crisis, the Michigan Dept. of Education launched a multi-media campaign to recognize and celebrate Michigan teachers called #proudMIeducator. “Stakeholder feedback during Michigan’s development of its state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) indicated that a major barrier to improving educator quality, recruitment, and retention is the low morale among, and perceived lack of respect for, teachers and leaders… As many as one-third of teachers leave the profession in their first three years, and almost 50 percent leave after five years. Half of new principals leave the profession within their first three years, and enrollment in teacher prep programs is down by more than one-third from 2009-10.” In the next ten years, fully half of the nation’s teachers will retire. If change does not occur, where will well-prepared, committed, creative, and caring teachers come from to replace them?
As a teacher of 40 years who is seriously concerned about the future of my profession, I am determined that New School High serves as a model for change. Respect, autonomy, collaboration, support, and appreciation must be core values for all our stakeholders: students, families, and staff alike. Every day, I am honored to work with the adults who teach and care for your children. Our staff is second to none – and so are you: the families who have chosen New School High for their children. To all of you, heartfelt thanks!