Sep 05

Across the Principal’s Desk: 

Dr. Shane Rayburn is the principal at Oakwood Elementary School in Oakwood, GA. OES is a Title I school that has worked extremely hard to be a place where all children and staff are empowered to embrace the leader within. And he happens to use and love Core Essentials!

Many times I have shared with my staff that yes, they are my heroes, because I watch them pour themselves into the students of Oakwood.  Schools can be tough places because of the many things thrown at teachers in today’s world.  As their principal, one of my promises has been to protect them to the degree that I can and to filter what needs their attention; some things can wait.  Our students can’t; they deserve our heroic best.  It’s a delicate dance of balance.  Every now and then, something happens and it jolts us back to why we do what we do, and I believe that if you dig deep you will know that one of the reasons you do what you do is to instill HOPE in the next generation that they too can be American HEROES.

My son just had to complete a current events assignment (don’t you remember doing that in school?) and the article that he selected was about the passion of Neil Armstrong.  He had me read his summary and thoughts and his last line read something like this: “ I am grateful for what Neil Armstrong did because it encourages us to do something big for the world and I hope to learn about many more American heroes.”  While every student won’t necessarily WALK ON THE MOON, we must believe that they can.  A teacher, a caregiver, a mother or father or friend or aunt – someone believed in Neil Armstrong.  Can you imagine that moment when he set foot on the moon, when the control room at NASA went wild.  We must hold high expectations and believe that every student can become the next Neil Armstrong.  We have mounds of educational research that assert that the difference in academic challenging environments and student achievement pivotally has to do with our perceptions of students and our expectations.  You can do this but you have to clear the clutter from your brains sometimes, realize that we have a short time with our students to make a big impact.  Get out there and teach your heart out today.  I love you.  Love on your kids.  Don’t pity any of them.  Instead, believe in them and insist that they reach beyond their potential.  Provide them the scaffolding and structure to be successful.  Together, we can.

Shane Rayburn, PhD