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Superintendent Talk: Parents, come help us address discipline

Last Thursday, the Port Arthur Independent School District (PAISD) completed all summer school activities and now our students can sleep a little later, interact with friends and hopefully find a good book or magazine and read for enjoyment.  We are asking parents to take their children to the Port Arthur Public Library and just hang out with Mrs. Carolyn Thibodeaux, children’s librarian.  Mrs. Thibodeaux is doing some wonderful things with our children in all areas of learning.  Just as I have watched children dropped off in the mall and left for hours unattended, you can do something of a similar nature and drop children off at the library and allow them to sharpen up on their reading skills, which is safer and more educational.

We have many exciting initiatives that will take place this upcoming school year in order to support our teachers and students in the classroom.  We are planning an extensive professional development program that will assist teachers in helping our students to be more successful in academics and in life.  To accomplish this goal, we need the support of all parents in the district.  As stated earlier, for children to be successful at school they have to come to us willing to learn and have the desire to learn.  That means they have to come prepared for learning.  They have to first come with the right attitude, the correct tools – homework – writing utensils – books, etc., and with the understanding that their parents expect them to come to school and listen to the teacher and behave appropriately.  I hear from my generation that “I want to give my children more than what I had”.  But sometimes I think about what we had was not that bad.  We were taught respect and we were taught to work hard and not feel that we were entitled to anything.  We were also taught to work for everything that we wanted and not feel that others owed us anything.  What is wrong with that?   I see students coming to us with the idea that we should do everything for them and that they have no responsibility or accountability for anything.  The Port Arthur Independent School District is charged with educating children and preparing them to compete with other students from across the world.  We are charged with molding students into a product that can move into society and succeed.

We hear so much about how the demographics are changing in our community, the unemployment rate is high, our poor children are going through so much at home, there is no structure in the home, etc.  All of these reasons are really adult issues that have become excuses why some of our children behave as they do.  Yes, all of the above may be true but when do we stop wallowing in the, “Woe is me”, and get up and start to do something about the situation.  We in the PAISD understand that we have to strengthen what we are doing and change a lot of how we are delivering instruction.  To meet the needs of our students we are addressing those issues, but we cannot be held totally accountable for the success, or lack of success, of all students.  Please understand that our students come from home before they come to school.  Students come to us with certain expectations and behaviors that are instilled in them early in life, often between the ages of three to five years; this is before our teachers get an opportunity to guide, influence or help mold them.  It is incumbent upon the parent to come to the realization that the school is a partner, not an adversary.

On Tuesday, July 30, from 5:30p-6:30p in the Auditorium at Memorial High School, and Tuesday, August 11, from 5:30p-6:30p in the cafeteria at Travis Elementary, we invite parents to come and take part in a community conversation regarding how we are going to address the discipline of students this school year and what are your expectations of us, and our expectations of you.  It is going to take all of us to ensure that our common goal, student success, is achieved.