Celebrate education!

Submitted by
Lincoln County Retired Teachers Association

National Education Week was Nov. 13-17, 2023. First celebrated in 1921, National Education Week has become a celebration during which communities across the country recognize the important roles their schools and the staff play in student development. This country has long devoted personnel and resources to achieve this significant goal. In Lincoln County alone, it is estimated that at one time there were perhaps 100 schools dotting the landscape. That fact truly shows our historic commitment to education in our part of the state.
Today, more than ever, communities are called upon to help our educational system excel in their quest to inspire excellence in each child. Whether during special weeks like National Education Week, or just during the course of a regular week, we should take a moment and thank those people who work in the forefront of a system that was designed to help each child attain her/his potential.
One suggestion is to have your child write a thank-you note to a teacher or two. Another is, even if you have been out of school for decades, send a note to that teacher who made a difference in your life.
You can also volunteer at your child’s school. Or just get involved: Attend concerts, art displays, sporting events, fundraisers, parent/teacher conferences (even in the high school years) and any other activities that brings you closer to your schools. Opportunities are endless and National Education Week should inspire parents and supporters of education to help keep our schools vibrant and effective.

Educating America’s youth has never been more important nor challenging than today. What can you do to help kids, schools and teachers?
Family efforts count. As a family, make education a priority. Set aside time daily to be a part of your child’s educational life. Actually talk with your child. Put reasonable limits on social media and gaming.
Read. Hopefully, this activity has begun in the home early in a child’s life. If not, it’s never too late to begin. Read to and with your child. Take your kid (and maybe the neighbor kids too!) to the library. It’s free, healthy entertainment. If you notice that your child experiences difficulties with reading, get help. Make sure your child sees you read daily.
Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. If your child struggles, ask for help. Maybe it’s something as simple as an eye exam. Maybe your child displays characteristics of learning issues, such as dyslexia, speech issues, or a myriad of other learning obstacles. Some may require a clinical evaluation, while others can be addressed by school specialists.
Be aware. Adopt a watchful eye for your child’s physical and mental well-being. Report concerns to appropriate school personnel. All too often we hear of tragic suicides occurring among our youth. Remember the Wisconsin Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is there to help by dialing 988.
Promote safe schools. We’ve long done this with anti-smoking and anti-drug laws. Firearms are a fact of life in our area. Many of us get great joy in the hunting culture and the family and friend relationships promoted by this activity. That’s great. However, the epidemic of violence in schools should tell us that schools and school property are no places for weapons.
Be a partner, not an adversary. Realize that every classroom is made up of students who have differing abilities, aspirations, backgrounds, and values. Addressing the needs of this unique group is a daunting task. While you must be concerned about one child’s progress, that teacher has to find ways to help everybody. Working calmly and rationally together helps solve issues.

This list of suggestions, although limited in length, would be an ideal way to make National Education Week extend to year-long commitment to our schools and those who work diligently to prepare our children and grandchildren to face a complex, demanding future stretching out for another hundred years and more. Let’s celebrate education!

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