Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wrapping Up

The close of a school year always seems to offer an excellent opportunity at reflection.  How did things go this year?  Where have we made progress, where have we not?  What are the good things we do that we should do more of?  Engaging in this type of reflection allows for deep examination of our current circumstances and also pushes us to change where necessary.  With that said, I do feel that we have made progress this year in many areas- particularly in continuing to help students who need it most despite all of the other “nonsense” we may have to deal with in public education.  State politics, budget, mental health, testing, accountability, and all of the other things we hear about in the media cause us to question whether or not we are truly making progress and if this is all “worth it”.  Loren Eiseley wrote an excellent short story that metaphorically describes whether or not what we do is “worth it”; perhaps you have heard it referred to as “The Starfish Story” as shared here: 

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one.” 

We have to operate under the premise that each and every act we engage in makes a difference over time; that even though there may be many miles of beach we must start somewhere and make a difference where and when we can.

As always, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Craig G. Broeren
District Administrator
715-537-5612 ext. 402