Monday, May 4, 2015

Open Letter to the Teachers of the Beaver Dam Unified School District

Dear Teachers:

I was sitting at my desk writing the traditional teacher appreciation week thank you letter to staff when one of our teachers stopped in to share an uplifting note from a student he taught twenty years ago.  The former student explained the impact this teacher had on turning her life around by making a personal phone call to her home instructing her to get to school to complete a final exam.  When she got to school, he sat with her until she completed the task.  She explained how upset she was with him at the time but now recognizes the importance of what he did.  She explained how he helped to pull her out of a self-absorbed world and become a better person.  It is inspiring to consider the magnitude teachers have on students every day.

This conversation led me to reminisce about my time growing up in our public school system. I clearly recall the images of those teachers who inspired me, urged me to be the best version of myself, held me to high standards and at times asked more of me than I thought possible.  The ones who urged me to explore new ideas, think about the world in different ways and helped me conquer tasks I thought to be impossible are those who helped to shape my life.  Impactful teachers are the foundation of our society and the bedrock on which tomorrow’s leaders are born.  Only a parent is more influential in determining the academic success of a student; in the absence of a parent, there are few adults who will have more impact on a student’s academic career than a teacher. 

Thank you for the work you do with our children.  Thank you for the high standards to which you hold our students.  Thank you for understanding that educating tomorrow’s leaders is about so much more than a standardized test score.  Thank you for your commitment to continual professional development, for exploring innovative teaching practices, for personalizing learning for our students and for your dedication to our profession, school district and community.  Not only do I want to thank you for the job you do every day, I want to urge you to thank the teachers who have impacted your life. Recognize the people who have helped you become the best version of yourself.

Together we are building tomorrow by guiding our students and empowering their futures.

Thank you!

Steve Vessey
Beaver Dam Unified School District