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Education Opinion

It’s Graduation Day!

By LeaderTalk Contributor — May 29, 2009 2 min read

Today is Graduation Day at our school. We are an alternative school and a small one at that, so we only have seven graduates today. There are others who should be joining this group, but they got sidetracked and will need to return in the fall to try and complete their requirements. We have others who decided getting a diploma wasn’t worth it and left school completely. So, it’s a big day for these seven students, their families and the school staff who supported them.

I’m proud of them for making it to the finish line. I hope that this accomplishment will teach them that they can achieve whatever they want, if they stick with it, even when there are detours to the end goal. Something happened to each of these graduates that caused them to have to leave their home school district and end up here to finish their education. And instead of giving up and throwing in the towel, they hung in there and made it to this day.

While I am looking forward to the ceremony and celebration of this day, I can’t help but wonder if we did all we could do as a school to prepare them for the future. I really don’t have to wonder long. I know there is more we could do and need to do. Now, I’m not saying I can’t be happy for the good things we did accomplish, because I can. I just know that as the educational leader of this school, I need to keep my mind student-focused and continue to select a few things to work on each year to keep improving our program for the students we serve.

It’s so easy to bogged down in the day-to-day issues and concerns that come flying at us from all directions. We all know that. But as the end of my second year as an administrator comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on if I have made a difference and what kind of legacy I want to leave.

After today, I’m going to take some time to do what Barbara Barreda suggested in her post, which was, “Empty your inbox, re-do your files, clean out your drawers and re-evaluate your priorities and set a new agenda that will carry you into the 2009-2010 school year with fresh perspective and hope.” Then, I am going to keep working on the improvements we need to reach alternative learners and give them the education they deserve.

But first, I am going to celebrate this day with these seven students, their families and our staff. I am grateful to be a part of this and to be able to make a difference in the education of the students who will follow these seven. I hope that each of you, as you serve in your leadership role, can take some time for reflection and celebration at this time of year. And don’t forget to have a piece of graduation cake - indulge yourself!!

Reggie Engebritson

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.