Tam District Parent Newsletter

April 2019

Time for Reflection

Over the past several weeks, subsequent to the college admittance scandal coming to light, I have had ample opportunity to engage in conversations around privilege, power, the pressure students feel to achieve and what success means to our community. These conversations led me to a book by Dr. Richard Weissbourd called The parents we mean to be: How well intended adults undermine children’s moral and emotional development. Essentially, the book asks adults to reflect on what messages we send to young people through both our actions and our words. It specifically speaks to what he calls the "achievement craze". One not so surprising conclusion the author draws is that we, as adults, often inadvertently, encourage an ends-justifies-the-means, win-at-all-costs culture for our youth.

One passage from the book that had a particular impact on me states: “about 40% of students (surveyed) identified getting into a 'good college' as more important than being a 'good person' and nearly half of students (surveyed) said that it was more important to their parents that they get into a good college than that they be good people” (Weissbourd, p. 62-63).

I think the scandal provides us with an opportunity to truly reflect on what implicit and explicit messages we send to our young adults everyday and whether or not those messages are likely to foster the values we espouse.

Other books that were recommended include:

Teach your children well: Parenting for authentic success: Why values and coping skills matter more than grades, trophies or fat envelopes -by Madeline Levine

How to raise an adult -by Juile Lythcott Haimes

What great parents do: 75 simple strategies for raising kids who thrive-by Erica Reischer

teacher appreciation week is May 6th-10th

Take a Moment to Thank a teacher!

Mrs. Kerns was my special education teacher in the 5th and 6th grades. She was what we might call a warm demander today, which means she held high expectations for me and provided the appropriate support required for me to succeed. When I have the opportunity to speak with students about my educational experience, Mrs. Kerns is always highlighted as one of the many who stood out and made me aspire to be an educator. In reflection, she was the first person I would describe as an advocate. She fought for her students and I was fortunate enough to be one of those in her class. I wish for every child to have the educational advocate I had in Mrs. Kerns, and during my 17 years in our district, I have seen just such advocacy by our teachers. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with many current and former teachers in our district and can attest to their passion, dedication and enduring support of our students. I am ever grateful for Mrs. Kerns, and the many, many teachers who have similarly inspired and supported me as a student and an educator. Thank you, teachers, for all the advocacy, support and inspiration you provide to all of us, every day!

upcoming events

There has been a significant increase in teen use of nicotine products through vaping. Please click on the image below for resources on vaping

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