Editorial: Taos County schools - year of excellence ahead

Posted 9/5/18

Schools around Taos and Taos County are back in session now. (Yes, parents, we know you are cheering inside.)Some schools started the academic year on a sour note. Their report cards from the state …

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Editorial: Taos County schools - year of excellence ahead

Posted

Schools around Taos and Taos County are back in session now. (Yes, parents, we know you are cheering inside.)

Some schools started the academic year on a sour note. Their report cards from the state education department were dismal.

But we believe in these schools as much as we do the ones that get A's. We know all schools and teachers in Taos County face tremendous challenges and pressures.

Teachers, we know you are expected to do more, teach more, counsel more and be more than ever before without hefty pay raises to go along with all those expectations. We know you strive to be endlessly creative in attempting to engage your students in their education while dealing with changing standards, parents and administrators. We know students are lucky to have you, and so are we, the community.

Students, we know you have a far different set of pressures today than those faced by your parents and grandparents at your age. We believe every one of you can rise above those pressures, excel to the best of your ability and pursue your dreams. Find what you are good at and put your heart and soul into it; use that, whether it is auto mechanics, dance, debate, art, building things or music, as the springboard to do well in school. We know some of you don't get the support you need at home to excel, so turn to your teachers, find adult mentors in the community. We are here and we care.

Community, let's step up our game. Make yourself available even a few hours a month to mentor.

Reach out to a teacher you know and see how you can help. Tell young people you believe in them every single chance you get. Volunteer with groups, such as SOMOS, DreamTree, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and many other groups that help youth. As young River Johnson said to us recently, sometimes youth in dark moments need just one person, who says and shows that they care, to make a difference.

Reach out to families who you know are going through rough times even if it is just to offer an ear they can bend for a little while. A large percent of children in our communities are being raised by grandparents for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the grip drugs have on their parents. These grandparents need a whole host of support.

We can be harsh critics of our schools. We write stories that upset them when things aren't going well. But we still believe in our schools and the herculean efforts they are making to help students.

We've said it before and we'll keep repeating it: Schools should set high standards, provide support to teachers (emotional if not financial) and help students believe in their abilities. They need financial support and investment from the state legislature. They need emotional support and props from their community.

Our youth are inheriting an uncertain world from the adults around them, one changing rapidly due to technology and slowly but surely due to climate change. Let's prepare them with a broad range of skills and self-confidence to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Let's tell them, every single chance that we get, that we believe in them and their ability to overcome all obstacles.

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