Commentary: Employees make our schools great

This week, school divisions across the nation are recognizing the significant contributions of public school employees.

American Education Week provides us, as a school division, with an opportunity to celebrate public education in our own community. The Shenandoah County Public Schools has alot to celebrate! There are multiple measures that point toward the continuation of our tradition of academic excellence. In addition to the state and national recognition that our students and staff have recently experienced, we want to acknowledge and applaud the work that our employees are doing on a routine, daily basis on behalf of our students.

Every day, our teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals are working together to plan engaging and authentic lessons for students. The number of opportunities for students to be active in their learning with an intentional focus on a deeper understanding of content is on the rise. Teachers are breaking down traditional barriers and are working together to plan interdisciplinary lessons with their colleagues both inside and outside of their own schools. Students are being provided innovative learning experiences that will empower them to collaborate with their peers, think critically about content, problem solve, be creative, be persistent, and communicate with others in a variety of ways. The quality and depth of instruction that we are providing to students in our classrooms is the best that it has ever been!

Our success as Team Shenandoah also extends beyond the walls of the classroom. Transportation employees, the first face that our children see after they leave their homes, continually ensure the safe transportation of our children to and from school. Our custodial and maintenance employees consistently provide everyone with a safe, clean, and comfortable place to work and learn. Food service employees provide the nourishment our students need in order to be ready to learn, while our school nurses meet the varied medical needs of a diverse student body. As we prepare students to be global citizens, counselors provide the support and direction that students need to forge a path toward career readiness. School-level and central office administrative and support staff provide leadership and take care of many important jobs so that teachers can focus on the business of teaching.

These successes come as a direct result of our employee’s expertise and devotion to our school division. They have not come without a great deal of labor and stress and have not been easy. Their tireless efforts are recognized and are not in vain.

Our school division believes that education is an investment of time, labor, and resources in our future. We are proud of the work that our employees are doing to create globally competent, world-ready students who are the future leaders of our community, our state, our nation, and our world. The talents and skills that they share, as Team Shenandoah, with our students allows our division to be successful now and will enable us to continue to be great well into the future!

Thank you, Shenandoah County Public School employees, for making a difference!

Dr. Jeremy Raley is superintendent of Shenandoah County schools.  The Shenandoah County School Board consists of Rick Koontz, Chairman, District 2; Karen Whetzel, Vice Chair, District 1; Dr. Kathy Holsinger, District 3; Katie Freakley, District 4; Irving Getz, District 5; the Rev. Sonya Williams Giersch, District 6.