June is a special time for educators. As we watch our seniors walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, we celebrate the hard work of our students, teachers, staff and families.
This is a big deal. From my perspective—as your superintendent, a lifelong educator, a parent and a grandparent—high school graduation is the second major milestone students need to reach to find their way to future success.
The first? Learning to read! Literacy and a high school diploma are the two tickets young people need to succeed in life.
The ability to read opens the door to a whole world of information and adventure, enabling our students to learn about anything that interests them and to get the facts they need to manage their lives. It also provides endless opportunities for enjoyment and exploration.
Earning a high school diploma opens the next set of doors. Graduates have gained the knowledge and skills needed to engage with the wider world, whether entering the workforce or seeking more education. The diploma also demonstrates a young person’s ability to set a goal and see it to completion.
Longview Public Schools is deeply committed to helping each of our students open these two doors, whether their path is straight or meandering, and whether they need special supports or advanced challenges. We welcome our students however they arrive, and we find ways to help them progress until they graduate.
To each of you families with a new graduate—congratulations! Celebrate the moment.
For those of you with children, grandchildren or neighbors still in school, I urge you to support them this summer. Many students lose academic ground over break, and reading prevents what we call “summer slide.”
Here is a suggestion: Set aside 30 minutes a day for reading. Have your students pick out library books that interest them. Sit together and read. That’s it!
I will be reading along with you this summer—visiting summer lunch programs and appearing on the school district’s Facebook page @LongviewSchools. When you see me, let me know what you and your youngsters are reading.
Let’s work together to make Longview a community of readers and graduates.
Dr. Dan Zorn
Story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of the Longview Schools Review.