March 9, 2008
by Victoria Tipp
Ask most people why they moved to New Castle and they will tell you that it’s because of the schools and the quality of education their children will receive.
This week is a good opportunity to think about what lies behind those sentiments. What makes a school district “good” or “excellent?” It is a hard-earned reputation that demands constant focus and vigilance. It begins and remains in large part with what goes on inside each and every classroom, and is the result of the hard work and commitment of each individual teacher in all six of our schools.
Our teachers take the time every year to get to know each child in his or her classroom. They serve as mentors, care-givers and confidence-builders. They not only impart volumes of information but also teach their students how to think critically about what they learn, how to work with others and how to solve problems. They inspire our children to be life-long learners. How can we adequately thank our teachers for the many roles they play in shaping our children’s lives? The National Education Association conducted a survey on this question and found that a simple “thank you” from their students is what teachers appreciate most. Teacher Appreciation Week will officially end on May 10, but the opportunity to say “thank you” is year-round.
I would encourage parents to talk to their children about the role their teachers play in their lives. Encourage them to tell their teachers what they have appreciated learning this year and to thank them for it in their own words. This will benefit the children too. There is great value in learning how to thank someone in a way that is meaningful, and that true appreciation builds bonds and connections that material gifts (or even a PTA breakfast) cannot replace. Building stronger bonds and connections between our students and teachers is something we all want and it can begin at home.
Although this is National PTA Teacher Appreciation Week, here in Chappaqua our district calendar marks it a