The first day of school always brings a mix of emotions for students. Some may be excited that school is once again in session. Others may be sad to see summer end. Some may be nervous or even a little scared at the challenge of learning their way around a new school, meeting new teachers and making new friends. Fortunately, these first-week jitters only last a short time.
The opening of school is always accompanied by increased traffic in the school zones. I urge everyone to be aware of speed limits, crosswalks and crossing guards — they are there for your child’s safety. I applaud each school principal who is constantly looking for ways to improve our children’s safety while providing a disciplined and drug-free environment.
As mayor, I want to acknowledge the outstanding staff, administrators and teachers at the county and city school systems who influence our children each day. Their leadership in the classroom is vital in helping the school systems reach certain state benchmarks such as graduation rates and ACT scores.
Education is the prerequisite for opportunity and success, and is critically important for any community seeking new industry and economic development. A skilled and trained workforce may be the most important investment we can make as a community. Major corporations such as Wacker, Amazon, Whirlpool, Olin, M&M Mars and Volkswagen look for a well-trained work force. The good paying jobs in these plants require a certain level of technical ability and reasoning skills. Thanks to our outstanding education systems, we are able to assist Wacker’s management in meeting their labor force needs.
Too often the burden of educating our children is placed solely upon the classroom teacher. But 30 years of research show that greater parental involvement in a child's learning is critical if they are to achieve a high-quality education. It’s clear that many Bradley County parents take this responsibility seriously.
From following up on their child’s homework assignment to volunteering in the classroom, many parents are finding ways to partner with their child’s school. The result is a dropout rate much lower than the national average for grades 9 through 12. This continued involvement will ensure that all students in Bradley County are well prepared to lead rewarding adult lives and not get caught in the huge income gap between high school graduates and high school dropouts.
I have always been a big supporter of our public schools and am proud of the job they are doing. I am a product of Bradley County Schools and my children are also. I want to thank Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel and Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of the Cleveland City Schools, for their leadership. I commend each school board member, principal, teacher and their support staff who deserve a lot of credit for the school’s success. Their workday doesn’t always begin at 7 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. They spend many extra hours inside and outside the classroom to ensure a quality education for all our children. Thanks to each of you for all that you do. You are a primary reason that Bradley County is Tennessee at its best.
For more information about Cleveland and Bradley County schools, log on to www.bradleyco.net, click on the "Living” link and look for schools.