Monday, September 24, 2018

MOVING THE NEEDLE: Are We Ready for School?

August 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Community

Are We Ready for School?

BY DR. TIFFANY TYLER

Dr Tiffany Tyler

This month, students across Nevada will return to school, and there will be shopping, registration and angst over who will be in whose class.

As this annual pilgrimage begins, it is important to ask a very simple but consequential question: “Are we ready?” Are we prepared to support and ensure student success? As we gauge preparedness, are we taking a holistic account of school readiness?

Maybe we’ve taken our traditional approaches to returning to school. Frequently, our preparation efforts include purchasing uniforms, school supplies and shoes. It may include a return to reading or an earlier bedtime. However, true readiness must encompass the preparation of students, the traditions of families, and a community ideal that ensures all students are poised for success.

To accomplish this preparation, I suggest that we consider whether we prepared our children for the return to school by ensuring they are ready in mind, body and spirit.

In the case of their minds, do they have the psychological and emotional security needed to focus properly? Similarly, in the case of the body, have we ensured children have the proper medical, dental and vision health needed to excel? Moreover, in the case of the spirit, do children have the benefit of our belief and faith in their abilities, aptitude and potential?

You may be tempted to believe that these are questions that only students and their families can ask. While they can and do, I submit that these are questions that we must ask as a community.

As a community, we can ask how we are contributing to the emotional and psychological safety needed to ensure student focus. Have we addressed the myriad social issues that often erode emotional and psychological safety — like unemployment and underemployment, lack of affordable housing, and food insecurity?

We can ask how we are addressing healthcare and healthcare access. If we adopt a more holistic approach to determining if we are ready for school, we may choose to support organizations addressing critical health and basic needs.

Furthermore, we can collectively agree to foster and maintain a community ethos that supports our highest goals for children. We can choose a narrative that empowers children through a collective belief that they can achieve anything: new heights, new possibilities, a new future for us all!

With this belief in mind, I ask you to join me in ensuring we are all ready for school!

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