We at Norris School District SD#160 have many blessings for which to be thankful and today is certainly an appropriate occasion to recognize some of these gifts. While we enjoy time with our families and friends at home, at church, and of course in the Black Friday shopping mall mayhem this weekend, I wanted to pause momentarily to consider some of what I am grateful for here at Norris and share that. Here's a short, far from exhaustive list:
*I am thankful we have an administrative team that sets high expectations for all because they believe that we must always strive to get a little better no matter what our previous accomplishments. That belief we are accountable to each other for perpetual self-improvement is a pretty powerful motivator.
*I am thankful we have such a dedicated support staff that takes care of so many things behind the scenes that the rest of us have come to take much of what they do for granted. From shimmering waxed tile floors and vacuumed carpets to a fleet of buses that keeps running and drivers who get the kids there safe and on time, to a food service staff that manages to efficiently provide healthful fare to the >70% of our students who participate in the food service program every day to technology that works so consistently we are stunned if the network’s down (even for a few minutes) – what a great job these people do for us.
*I am thankful we have we have a community that is deeply supportive of its school district and has committed the resources to demonstrate that support in so many ways, from bond issues passed to Foundation gifts for scholarships to parent volunteers serving as guest readers in our classrooms.
*I am thankful that we have a school board motivated by the right things- children and their achievement- and that they know the importance of their role as stewards of the district and ambassadors for Norris and they embrace those roles.
*I am thankful we have dedicated and caring teachers who strive to provide the kind of classroom environment where parents are thrilled to have their children learning important lessons from you every day- academic and life lessons, both. The quality of faculty here is indisputably excellent.
*I am thankful for the paraprofessionals who provide the instructional support that helps teachers teach more effectively and helps so many students move from marginal to proficient, and proficient to exemplary.
*I am thankful we have secretaries in each office who are the front line in all our interactions with the public. Secretaries who are courteous, professional, polite and just the right degree of pushy – err, sorry, I mean assertive when it is necessary to get the job done for Norris.
*I am thankful for the trust we have and the responsibility that comes with it: Educators enjoy great trust from their communities – survey after survey has found that to be a truism, and that is certainly the case here at Norris. We at Norris get to uphold traditional values of hard work and fairness while we push ourselves to also be one of the most progressive districts in the state to ensure our future grads have a solid foundation and excellent preparation, both.
Like I said, this is hardly a comprehensive list, but it's a pretty good start. I hope you too find time this holiday to consider some of the things to be thankful for here at Norris that might make your mental list, as well as thoughts of gratitude you have in the other important areas of your life. Thanks for everything you do and have a great holiday weekend.