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Letter: A BOE Trustee’s Message to the Teachers of Westbury

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome back our children, staff and teachers this school year 2009.

To the teachers and staff, it is my belief that you are well-trained, tested, motivated and skilled. With these four pillars each of you possess the means to effectively educate our children.

Therefore I will speak of my wishes that I want our teachers to impart to our children, their students.

I wish you to encourage them as yours; support, help and correct them; I wish you to have and demand high expectations of them; I wish you to teach and enlighten them so that they can compete at the top tier by any measure.

Our children, your students with guidance will achieve the highest standards; our teachers and staff shall be both rudder and tiller for the educational journey of our children, your students. I wish you to impart to them a desire to exceed the standards. My wish, your charge is not to merely teach a subject, just pass an exam, but for them to excel on the exam.

In addition, teach them good morals and great conduct. Yes, I wish you, teacher and staff to correct if possible, chastise if necessary and last, report those that are habitually problematic, or demonstrate poor conduct. Conduct is a fundamental key to learning and excellence.

It is my opinion, my belief, that educating is well beyond our school; it is all of Westbury.  It is the world.  Before they can lead, you must teach them to follow.

Teach them not just the required text or subject at hand, and definitely not just for the test. Teach the entire child, again, you are the rudder and tiller.

Will there be resentment by some?  Yes, there will be; Will parents complain? Yes, some will; Will there be failures? Yes and there will be blame enough for all to share.

You will not be popular sometimes but that is neither your task nor responsibility, results are. Presently, it is self-evident our students are not the bell-wether for success in Nassau County.

I am not, and you should not be, concerned if you are liked by our children, your students; I am not, and you should not, be concerned if you and they are friends, our children, your students. I am concerned with the hopes and dreams of parents for their children, your students.

They provide for their children. They have entrusted us, me by their vote, you by your chosen profession. I support the teachers fully in this endeavor. Yes, I hope that they all have a fun and joyous learning experience. But my wish and goal first is, achievement, results and excellence.

Teachers of grades K through six provide the first nutrients in the educational growth of our students; seven years of incubation preparing them; Teachers of grades 5 through 8; the middle passage, a most difficult journey of the awaking. You build upon those nutrients and ready them for high school; Teachers of grades 9 through 12; you have the least amount of time, and suffer most of the blame, but you persevere, surrogate mother, father, brother, sister and most likely friend; preparing our children for college or the skilled labor force.

I say to you now, where we are now is not good enough. Our teachers must have greater support.

Alas, it is my wish that parents must take greater responsibility to oversee their children’s education. And should any parent take exception to this, they should visit any high performing school district and they will witness, firsthand the positive effect of parental involvement.

Challenge yourselves and your students. Solicit help from parents and teachers. Visit any school unannounced. Call a school board trustee anytime.  Challenge them.

With these tools we will become better and eventually, the envy of other districts. The time for success is now. For if not now, when, and if not you, who?

Larry D. Wornum
Westbury Board of Education