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CSF board recognizes Public Schools Week

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

The Community Schools of Frankfort board of trustees passed and adopted a resolution during its March 12 board meeting that it will “celebrate the accomplishments and potential of public schools” during Public Schools Week from March 25-29.

Public Schools Week will be observed by schools across the country as a time to “recognize and celebrate that teachers, administrators and support staff that serve in our public schools are key to helping our students succeed and out nation thrive.”

The resolution signed by CSF board president Karen Sutton, vice president James McQuade, secretary Sandy Miller and board members Annie Bacon, Kristen Beardsley and Mark Sheets states that “Public education is the foundation for students' success, the growth of communities, and our nation's future.” Also, that “Public schools educate 90 percent of our nation's students and are providing talented professionals for jobs in corporate and public sectors as well as the military,” and that “public schools are the centerpiece of the hopes and dreams of our families, and the growth and well-being for our communities. Public Schools Week is the time to speak out about the value of public education and for Americans to join together and express their support for public education.”

On Friday, CSF Superintendent Don DeWeese spoke on the importance of public schools.

“By strengthening public education, we feel that we are going to strengthen our country and the fabric of our nation,” DeWeese said. “Many times throughout our day, we sometimes forget all the wonderful things that public schools provide for students and what they provide for our community. We like this theme that we can take a week and say that our public schools add value to our communities, to our county and to our state. This a great time to say thank you to a teacher, say thank you to an administrator, and say that 'Boy, our public schools could use our support.' This gives people that opportunity.”

“I think Don DeWeese put it very nicely when he said, 'This is a way to really shine a light on the value of public schools,'” Sutton said. “I think our community does a pretty good job with the help of the media of emphasizing a lot of the good things that are going on with the schools in our county, and I appreciate that greatly. But there are still a lot of people who read about the school grades we get from the state, and sometime those are not as positive, but they do not tell a complete tale of what students are achieving in our schools.”

Public Schools Week was organized by Learning First Alliance which, according to their website, is “a partnership of leading education organizations representing more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools” that “works toward the continual and long-term improvement of public education based on solid research.”

The Indiana State Teachers Association recently organized the Red for Ed rally which filled the Statehouse on March 8, and a handful of local public teachers attended the event to show their support for a larger increase in state spending for public education. But Sutton says that Public Schools Week is not solely about encouraging increased financial support for public schools, but also about supporting educators through positive feedback and encouragement.

“Everybody probably has a friend who is a teacher,” Sutton said. “Encouraging them in words and actions can mean so much. I hope that we are still doing that and being able to encourage the principals. They have an immensely hard job as well. They need all of those great words of positive feedback as well.”

Sutton says the Community and Schools Together program is one way members of the community can learn more about what is happening in the Community Schools of Frankfort.

“'The CAST program is a great opportunity for the community members to really observe what is going on in each school in Frankfort,” Sutton said.

The next CAST meeting is scheduled for April 17 when DeWeese will speak on budgets and business operations. Then, on May 22, the CAST meeting topic will be curriculum, instruction, assessments and Title I.

Until then, Sutton hopes that everyone will spend time this week showing appreciation for public schools and their educators, staffers and administrators.

“I started school in a school house in Kilmore,” Sutton said. “I feel like I got a great education there from first to third grade. I am proud of the level of education I received in the public school system. I believe it prepared me well for life, and that is what it is all about.”