Monday November 29, 2021

Gratitude and Shared Focus

During this season of Thanksgiving, it is fitting to express our heartfelt thanks to the many community partners, donors and stakeholders that support the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation and the students, faculty and staff at Oklahoma City Public Schools. To say we can’t do what we do without you is not an overstatement. It is absolutely the truth.

It’s also a good time to acknowledge and thank all who are involved in and who support public education. Public education provides services for all children in our communities and remains the primary educational avenue for most families. Education truly is the great equalizer and offering all students equitable educational opportunities is the responsibility public schools take on, despite the many circumstances outside of their control. Educators show up every day to do the best they can for our students and take on so much more than providing basic education.

As we reflect with gratitude about the many ways supporting public education benefits our children, community, state and country, we can also reflect on some corresponding truths in the ways we view public education that also apply to life in general.

  1. Despite our differences, there is nearly always common ground. Focusing on what we can agree on regarding public education allows us to pull from the same rope, and doing so increases our chances for success. There are many factions at play in the world of public education. Working together is much more effective than working separately.
  2. Most educators choose and remain in the profession for all the right reasons. Sure, there are some inadequate teachers, but there are also lousy business leaders, lawyers, doctors and politicians. The vast majority of educators love kids and are dedicated to doing everything they can to help them succeed.
  3. Diversity makes our world better and our community should celebrate the rich diversity prevalent in our public schools. Children learn from the environment that surrounds them at school and at home.
  4. Setting high standards does not make things too hard for kids. Children (and most adults), will typically rise to the level of expectations set for them. Public schools face many challenges, but high standards should never falter.
  5. If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Our schools can’t do it alone and community partners willing to pitch in and support needs determined by educators vs. being told what the needs are by those outside is not conducive to point number one.
  6. Give some grace, share some kindness. We all need it.
  7. Assume good intentions. See point number two.
  8. Please get your COVID vaccine. Kids need to be in school buildings.

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