Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, and Friends of Herron High School,

I truly hope that your family has enjoyed the long weekend.   When we create our school calendar, we try to find spaces for our families, faculty, and staff to rest and renew for the work that we all do together.

You may have heard that our nation is experiencing a teacher shortage.  Our state and city are included in this fact.

We are fortunate that so many smart, talented men and women choose to teach at our school, and our goal is to retain and celebrate the people who are serving our students and families each day.  Being a teacher in today’s educational environment is most challenging.  We ask teachers to have a deep understanding and knowledge of their content area; we expect them to teach to all learning styles; we expect them to use data to inform their practice, and, most of all, we ask them to care about and love their students.

If you have been a consistent reader of theses newsletters, you know that one of the books I treasure is Parker J. Palmer’s, The Courage to Teach.  Parker’s exploration into a teacher’s aspirations, talent, devotion, and courage speaks to the complex and magical character traits that are the substance of what a true TEACHER embodies.

When we think back on the teachers that inspired us and made us want to learn, there is not a formulaic description that generalizes those teachers.  Rather, it is the art of their instruction.  What we remember is their love of their subject and the way in which they believed in our ability to learn.

Our teachers believe that all students can learn and learn meaningfully.  Their love of their subject area is contagious.  As I stand in the hallway, I have the privilege of hearing our students discuss their classes. When I walk in the teachers’ workroom, I hear discussions about best teaching strategies, how to reach a particular student, and how they will schedule their time to grade their students’ work.  All of these conversations add up to our unique and highly respected school culture.

Parker sums up what I have the privilege to witness each day in these words: “Mentors [teachers] and apprentices [students] are partners in an ancient human dance, and one of teaching’s great rewards in the daily chance it give us to get back on the dance floor.”

Perhaps, someday, our society will figure out that teachers should be monetarily compensated appropriately.  Perhaps, we will flip our economic priorities to celebrate those who touch the lives and futures of our children each day.  Until then, we must work together to find ways to celebrate and honor our teachers.  We are fortunate to have some of the best teachers in the nation at our school.  We want to keep it that way.

Parker reminds us that the art of teaching is precious and must be nurtured.   Another of my educational treasures is a box that is filled with thank you letters from students and parents that I collected over my 22-year career as an English teacher.  While my husband and I are trying to de-clutter, I certainly will not toss out that box.

Please take the time to thank our teachers for caring for and instructing your student(s).

Warm regards,

Janet H. McNeal, President, Head of School

Complete newsletter here: 2.25.2017 HHS