the Superintendent's Seat:
Supporting Success at Every Stage
We learned a few weeks ago that
for the second year in a row, a student in our District has
been named an Intel Finalist. Three others were named Semi-Finalists.
Daniel, the Finalist, is one of only 40 students in the nation
chosen to compete in Washington, D.C., in March for what
is often called “the
Junior Nobel Prize.” He told me he was thrilled and surprised
to have won this honor (which includes a $5,000 scholarship
that will help go toward his Harvard tuition), and how he was
really hoping to go on to further success. The level of achievement
our students reach is amazing, and we can see how important
it is for parents and schools to nurture their children’s
Creating a school community with a culture that applauds and
rewards success is perhaps the most important goal we can seek
to obtain. There are infinite ways to do this, and we begin
by showing our students that we believe in their abilities.
From the first days of kindergarten we should be giving our
students the confidence and self-assurance that will help them
achieve all that they can. We can bolster self-esteem by teaching
that every child has innate talents that are used to approach
any kind of task, whether it is academic, artistic, athletic,
or social. We emphasize not just the results, but the process
the student took to get there, and the skills and talents they
are each developing daily.
Throughout their school years, students
must be encouraged to stretch themselves and be recognized
for all that they accomplish. An annual school “Curriculum Night,” is an occasion
to put all of the students’ best work on display for
their parents, who are always full of praise for their children.
This kind of showcase gives every single child a chance to
It takes a combination of a Board of Education, school administration
and faculty, and parents whom all value education to create
a culture of success for the students. When children are given
such a learning environment it is evident in all aspects of
their growth and development, both academically and socially.
At our February Board of Education meeting, sixth and seventh
graders demonstrated what they had learned in Family and Consumer
Science Class (formerly known as home economics). In a unit
on etiquette, that we added to the curriculum two years ago,
they learn the proper way to introduce and greet others in
business and social settings, and also how to use correct table
manners. These simple lessons clearly give the students the
poise and confidence that they need outside the classroom.
Parents can teach and reinforce such skills at home or when
eating out in public. Modeling this behavior will show your
children that you truly believe it is important.
As I watched these 11 and 12 year-olds
each put their best foot forward, it was easy to envision
them as young adults, five and six years from now, graduating
high school and moving on to college prepared to take on
new challenges and to accept the responsibilities of adulthood.
Let’s make success
a self-fulfilling prophecy for all children.#
Dr. Hankin is superintendent of Syosset Central School District.
Randi Sachs is Public Information Officer of Syosset Schools.