DR. MARYANN LOPEZ — Work in children’s education creates benefit that lasts generations

Published 12:10 am Sunday, October 30, 2022

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The last week of September 2022 marked the date of a very important event in public education, the Texas Public Charter Schools Conference.

This annual occurrence provides countless opportunities for charter school leaders, educators, board members and advocates across the state of Texas to attend workshops, network and participate in trainings from experts in their fields.

On its website, the mission reads “The Texas Public Charter Schools Conference is committed to advancing the quality of public charter schools and improving student achievement through strengthening, motivating and collaborating with our Texas charter leaders.”

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The most notable address was given by keynote speaker, Mike Morath, Commissioner of Education for the Texas Education Agency. His statements regarding early childhood education and the overall education of Texas children were inspiring and encouraging.

His message principally was all children can learn and achieve at high levels, and Texas children are entitled to high quality schools. Quite simple, yet so impactful.

These words resonated with those of us in attendance representing Bob Hope School because they echo our philosophy of education for our children. We do believe all children are capable of learning. We believe building a foundation in the areas of reading and math, beginning with the early grades is critical.

We believe having high expectations of our students is not only a necessity, but our obligation because doing so not only affects student academic achievement, but student self-worth as well.

It goes without saying that BHS believes all children are entitled to a quality education.

Continuing with his remarks on early childhood education, Mike Morath spoke about phonics, vocabulary and reading comprehension, all of which are so essential to cultivating emergent readers.

At Bob Hope School, we recognize the importance of developing these basic skills in very young children. For this reason, we offer a program for 3-year-olds. But even their education goes beyond basic skills.

We must teach them problem solving, critical thinking skills and conflict resolution, not to mention social and emotional skills. How important are these in today’s world?

Maria Montessori said, “Education begins at birth.”

We know parents are their child’s first teacher, and the role of the parent and caregiver is vital to positive lasting results. The school is in the role of being the child’s caregiver; therefore, we must ensure the school environment is one that is nurturing, stimulating and engaging so the whole child can develop in ways that are advantageous for life-long effects.

The Bob Hope School model of Montessori education, dual language learning, Mandarin Chinese instruction, as well as stringed instrument teaching allows for laying the groundwork of a rigorous academic program that fosters holistic growth of the child that will continue to strengthen and enhance their skills throughout their educational years and beyond.

Nobel laureate and economist James Heckman, a strong proponent of early childhood education, conducted much research in this area. According to his work, “Early childhood education programs can impact life outcomes in ways that span generations.”

Investing in these programs benefits everyone, because these children will most likely graduate high school, go to college and give back to the community.

Children come to us on the first day of school eager and excited for what the year has in store for them.

Theirs is a world of wonder, every day a new experience. We need to seize all opportunities to shape these enthusiastic young minds today, so they will be well-prepared for what comes tomorrow.

Dr. Maryann Lopez is the chief academic officer for Bob Hope Schools. She can be reached at maryann.lopez@bobhopeschool.org or 409-983-3244, ext. 523.