November 10, 2014
Many of you know that I’m a military kid. My father first served in Vietnam as a Marine. He worked as a cryptologist and Korean linguist there. Then after college he returned and joined the Navy, where he worked as an Air Traffic Controller and later a French linguist and cryptologist. He served long and well until health issues (the cost of the kind of service he gave) forced him into retirement. My father is a believer in non-violent resolutions to problems of all kinds, and as a soldier saw his work as being to support efforts to prevent the escalation of violence. I’m proud of him and the work he did. I believe he made this world a better place for his children and grandchildren, and that he did so by giving greatly of himself. Tomorrow we take a day to recognize and reflect on those among us who’ve done what my father did and more. As you talk to your children about Veteran’s day, please remember to not just consider the wars that people fought for their country, but also the peace they sought and continue to seek for all of us.
Peace is on our minds as we have faced a few safety concerns in our community over the last couple of weeks. I’ve sent two letters letting community know that we had police activity in our neighborhood and changed our behavior because of that. Our most important and most effective protection against threats from outside is the amazing presence of well-known adults in our hallways. The more people who are in the halls, the more likely we are to be quickly informed and responsive if someone enters the school who shouldn’t. In that light, please remember to sign in and grab a visitors badge when you join us at school. If you see someone you don’t know in the halls who does not have a badge, please let us know in the office. We’ll welcome them to our school and invite them to sign in.
Our safety committee has been considering the question of locked doors and buzz-in systems for about a year. There are many good reasons to keep our doors open, the most important being that we want to keep our school welcoming and open. Our welcoming feeling helps us know each other well and ensure that there are lots of adults in the hallways and classrooms. The adults who join us at school help keep us safe. That said, we could easily lock more doors, route more traffic through the front door, and decrease the chances of someone entering unseen. This would be a small inconvenience in the light of our safety concerns. These are the considerations the safety committee has been weighing. Their recommendation will help us make a good decision and keep our school safe for all the students.
My father taught me to read with National Geographic magazines when he was home from his duty station on the air craft carrier Enterprise. He would sit with me and we’d look at the incredible pictures, then sound out words together. Reading with your children helps them develop a love of books, and a love for learning. They remember the love they got from you every time they look at a book. I remember my father’s lap, the feel of glossy pages, and the love he shared with me. Students should read about 20 minutes a night, with their eyes and their hands on books. The most important thing they get from this reading time is the association they make between feeling cozy and connected, and books. I hope during your day off school have the chance to read something wonderful with your children.