As I reflect on this school year, I wanted to share with you something I talked about with our students at our Student Recognition Ceremony yesterday. As I explained to our younger students why it is important to give back to their school and greater Des Plaines community, I told them, "Although it is important for us to teach you about math and reading and other academic subjects, it is maybe even more important for us to help you learn how to be good people." I truly believe in that statement, and I feel that we are succeeding in that mission. I hope you feel we are succeeding in that mission, too.
Many of you reading this have known me for many years, and some of you are just getting to know me now. One thing that I believe (and hope) you would universally say about me is that you can see how much I value and care about our students. With that, I believe in teaching the whole child. This means that students thriving in areas such as the arts and social-emotional competency means just as much to their growth as does academic achievement. Our dedicated staff, all of them, work tirelessly to teach and model that for your children. I cannot thank them enough for their efforts each and every day here at Terrace.
This year I had the pleasure to have lunch with EVERY first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grade student. Don't worry kinders, your time will come next year! During these learning lunches, I got to know your children better in a setting not as formal as a classroom. They shared with me their likes and dislikes about school, and they also had the opportunity to ask me about things they were curious about both in my personal and professional lives. In my day, principals were feared. That is not the principal I am or ever want to be. I make every effort to be approachable, fun, trustworthy, and an advocate for children. I also strive to be respected by our students to the point that when they are seeing me because they made a poor choice (or several), they are more upset that they have disappointed me rather than fearing I will be angry with them and give them a consequence.
I am really proud of our students and our staff. I believe that at Terrace we inspire a culture of caring and giving back. Our student council representatives, student patrols, and PE helpers have all learned the valuable lesson of giving back. Our primary students DO take notice. Yesterday at recess, after the recognition ceremony, our first grade students walked around the playground picking up garbage to "make our school clean". They were inspired! And so am I. Every day.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful, courageous, intelligent, funny, caring, and selfless children with us. I hope they have a fabulous summer, enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. When they are too hot and tired from playing in the sun, please remind them that they can always pick up a book and read. =-)