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School Board Chairwoman’s View: Students are future leaders, need to be treated that way

I'm grateful for the opportunity to have served as chairwoman of the Duluth School Board for 2016. With much national debate centered on divisiveness, it was powerful to see our community come together to support our schools every day. I write th...

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have served as chairwoman of the Duluth School Board for 2016. With much national debate centered on divisiveness, it was powerful to see our community come together to support our schools every day. I write this to honor those who work tirelessly for the success of our students.
Every morning a bike brigade of students rides past my street to Myers-Wilkins Elementary. Parents commit to taking these students to school every day, teaching the lifelong skill of actively transporting to and from work and school.I met two young women at the Denfeld Fab Lab ribbon cutting, brimming with excitement for their future. Through their Career and Tech Ed classes, they are planning and dreaming for their future. One is headed to Lake Superior College to become a welder, and the other will join the National Guard with a vision of becoming a nurse. These opportunities wouldn’t be possible without a solid school curriculum paired with community involvement and support.Our food service staff prepares healthy meals for our students, often using produce grown by students in their own school gardens.Grandparents, business partners, nonprofits and community members volunteer countless hours and funds before, during and after school to pair their expertise with students’ daily needs.Positive teachers, mentors and leaders make a difference every day in the lives of our students.Our school district has benefited from strengthened relationships with the city of Duluth and St. Louis County on a variety of issues. From working with us to market and sell our excess properties to supporting Safe Routes to School processes, we continue to find ways to innovate through cross-sector partnerships.A lot of these great positives have been overshadowed by our continuing effort to sell unused school buildings in the district. As board chairwoman, I have stood in the best interest of Independent School District 709. With some movement already in progress, we will continue to work hard to find the right buyers for the properties.I know there are still places our schools can grow. Students still experience an opportunity gap. Often while a group of students excels in one subject others fall behind due to various factors. Staff and teachers work to ensure students are encouraged to enhance their knowledge and to see students as people and as future leaders, valuing each student one at a time.Thank you, students, parents, teachers, staff and community partners for your continued commitment to our schools.Happy New Year. Annie Harala served as chairwoman of the Duluth School Board this year. She wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page.I’m grateful for the opportunity to have served as chairwoman of the Duluth School Board for 2016. With much national debate centered on divisiveness, it was powerful to see our community come together to support our schools every day. I write this to honor those who work tirelessly for the success of our students.
Every morning a bike brigade of students rides past my street to Myers-Wilkins Elementary. Parents commit to taking these students to school every day, teaching the lifelong skill of actively transporting to and from work and school.I met two young women at the Denfeld Fab Lab ribbon cutting, brimming with excitement for their future. Through their Career and Tech Ed classes, they are planning and dreaming for their future. One is headed to Lake Superior College to become a welder, and the other will join the National Guard with a vision of becoming a nurse. These opportunities wouldn’t be possible without a solid school curriculum paired with community involvement and support.Our food service staff prepares healthy meals for our students, often using produce grown by students in their own school gardens.Grandparents, business partners, nonprofits and community members volunteer countless hours and funds before, during and after school to pair their expertise with students’ daily needs.Positive teachers, mentors and leaders make a difference every day in the lives of our students.Our school district has benefited from strengthened relationships with the city of Duluth and St. Louis County on a variety of issues. From working with us to market and sell our excess properties to supporting Safe Routes to School processes, we continue to find ways to innovate through cross-sector partnerships.A lot of these great positives have been overshadowed by our continuing effort to sell unused school buildings in the district. As board chairwoman, I have stood in the best interest of Independent School District 709. With some movement already in progress, we will continue to work hard to find the right buyers for the properties.I know there are still places our schools can grow. Students still experience an opportunity gap. Often while a group of students excels in one subject others fall behind due to various factors. Staff and teachers work to ensure students are encouraged to enhance their knowledge and to see students as people and as future leaders, valuing each student one at a time.Thank you, students, parents, teachers, staff and community partners for your continued commitment to our schools.Happy New Year.Annie Harala served as chairwoman of the Duluth School Board this year. She wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page.

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