Superintendent’s Corner – Reflections on Farwell Schools

February 28, 2014

As another snow day passes us by, I am reflecting on our school district.  What makes Farwell Area Schools so great?  Just a short time ago, the readers of the Clare County Review had voted Farwell Area Schools the best school in the county.  There are many reasons that come to mind and I want to share, from my perspective, why readers and community members feel this way.

When you speak of public schools, the phrase “all students” rings out.  This is something Farwell Area Schools is passionate about and takes very seriously.  Our vision statement outlines a path of service to kids that the entire district focuses on.  That is….”School, Family and Community, hand in hand, doing what is best for all kids.”  This service to “all kids” can be found in many places within our district.

All kids need to be a part of something.  The feeling to belong, to strive and to accomplish is something every kid should experience.  I attended a conference not too long ago that included a panel of high school students.  When questioned about what they value most out of their education, the answer was overwhelmingly the values and sense of accomplishment gained in a collaborative environment called “extra -curricular teams, clubs and organizations.”  I have always vowed I would do whatever it takes to ensure our students continued to have these opportunities.  Our district maintains these programs without a pay to play or transportation fee situation.  We understand that times are tough on several families.  If these fees force even one family into telling their child they cannot participate, that is too many.  All of Farwell kids will have an opportunity to belong…..

Our staff works very hard to develop the “whole child” supports that spell success for a student.  Relationships are at the top of this list.  The staff at Farwell Area Schools dedicates their day to getting to know our students, understanding their struggles and designing a plan for them to succeed.  Buildings have a process where staff identify and discuss students on a weekly basis to determine where that child is at academically, behaviorally and attendance wise.  Forming a relationship with a student and letting a child understand that you care about them, their progress, their success, spells the difference in a child’s life.

Many of our programs are geared for all kids.  Dual Enrollment and Farwell Area Early College programs are specifically designed for any, and I do mean any, student that demonstrates the desire to make a better life for themselves.  We have students ranked at number two and number eighty-eight in a class of ninety that are demonstrating success in college courses.  If you can get on YouTube, please view a video of RSA’s “Changing Education Paradigms by Sir Kenneth Robinson”.  In this clip, there is discussion about the perception of who or what child would benefit from education.  This perception destroys students’ lives.  Who am I to perceive or to determine that this child would never make it?  Give a child the opportunity and get out of their way!  Support them in any way possible but never judge the determination of a child that wants a better life for themselves.  I have witnessed this determination first hand and I am proud of Farwell Area Schools, The Best in the County.

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