The Greater Good, For Our Children
This editorial was written for the 2021 Focus on Education campaign. Every November, North Central ESD partners with the 29 public school districts in Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties to recognize and thank communities for supporting their local public schools.
If you haven’t seen the 2000 movie, Pay It Forward, I encourage you to carve out an hour and a half of family time and watch it. It’s the story of a middle school social studies teacher who gives his class an assignment to think of an idea that would change the world for the better and to put it into action. One young boy sets in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness that makes a profound impact.
I bring this movie to your attention as an example of the impact being kind can have. It’s time for us to put an end to this incivility that is happening as we continue to navigate the global pandemic and political landscape. There have been unprecedented impacts on our children, families, schools, businesses, community, and nation. Let’s use grace and kindness for the greater good of our children and community.
School board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, and support staff are working incredibly hard to follow the federal and state regulations as well as to meet the community expectations. They have regularly been under attack and treated as if they are the enemy. They are not. They are your friends, neighbors, and even relatives who care deeply for the children in our community. They are working tirelessly to provide a safe, high-quality learning environment for students and staff.
I challenge all of us to do a better job of modeling kindness and engaging in respectful civil discourse. Let’s encourage open conversations, develop a culture of curiosity and openness, respect differences, and ensure that we seek to understand those who have perspectives and experiences vastly different than our own… with kindness.
Martin Linskey wisely states in his book Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading, “No one learns only by staring in the mirror. We all learn—and are sometimes transformed—by encountering differences that challenge our own experience and assumptions.” There is no question; we are in some extraordinary times in public education and as a country. We will be challenged and pressed to the limits of our ability, skills and energy; however, I am confident that these challenges bring us new opportunities to re-invent ourselves as a system and work collectively to meet the needs of our most precious asset, our children.
The greatest strength of public education in the North Central Washington region is our people. We have teams of dedicated administrators, talented teachers, and committed support staff who will work in partnership with parents and the greater community to strengthen our educational excellence. Thank you for your support of our region’s public schools; and thank you for modeling kindness. Our children are watching and listening!
About the Author
Dr. Michelle Price began her service as the North Central Educational Service District Superintendent in 2017. Dr. Price’s background includes experience as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, as well as Moses Lake School District Superintendent, where she served 27 years.