Standing in the Gap
October 19, 2018
“The gap between caterpillar and butterfly can be bridged by one act of kindness.”
There are so many things going right in Forest Ridge District 142. Our teacher attendance is averaging nearly 95% per day since the beginning of the year. We have redesigned our elementary classrooms and students are more engaged. We have rigorous new curriculum and we’re stretching students like never before. All of these things add up to a spectacular first quarter of school. Yes, the end of next week will mark the end of the first quarter and in a blink, we’ll be at Parent Conferences and Thanksgiving Break.
Despite all of these successes and gains, there is an image that continually returns to mind. It’s not a picture of me, or a particular teacher, or support staff member, or parent; but rather it is of a kind of person who would step forward and stand in the gap. The gap I’m referring to is fluid and different for each school and for each student. But there is a gap, often easily identifiable, where someone should stand.
Think of the old bucket brigade, where community members stood shoulder to shoulder, passing buckets of water from one person to the next in order to save the family farm. If there’s a gap in the line, either the work is much more difficult or there’s a breakdown in the system and the farm may be in jeopardy.
This idea in education isn’t that much different. Whether our visual imagery is that of a school system or a single student, there are most certainly gaps. It could be due to trauma, poverty, disability, race, access to good teaching and content, or a myriad of other things that would stand in the way of making sure the bucket full of water makes it to its final destination. As we look at public education, and more explicitly, the kinds of people who work and live in District 142, it’s imperative that we identify the gaps and then in a separate decision, actually decide to step forward and fill it. To pass the bucket, to attend that game, to plan for that lesson, to provide the emotional support necessary for that student to achieve to their full potential is what stepping forward looks like.
What makes me most proud of District 142 is not the awesome financial standing of the district (although that is a source of pride), or the saturation of technology, or the progressive state-of-the-art curriculum. It’s that in this district, on every level, in every position, and in homes across our community, that we have people willing to step forward and stand in the gaps. This will become even more important as we head into the holiday season. Let’s ensure that the continuity of service and support of our children is unbroken, for this is the district where “Children Always Come First.”
Thanks for reading, now find and fill that gap.