Vail Daily column: An ending and a new beginning | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: An ending and a new beginning

Jason E. Glass
Valley Voices

This past weekend, members of the Eagle County Schools Board of Education and I shook 413 graduates’ hands — plus one virtual graduate while she stood on the podium at the state track meet— as students of the Class of 2016 completed their secondary education and turned their sights toward college, career or technical training, the workforce or just some time to plan their next moves.

Graduations are a joyful time for families and mark an important transition point in a young person’s ascent to adulthood. While our graduates will soon scatter in all directions (both near and far) in search of their dreams, we know they will always be a part of this community, which gave them wings and prepared them for their futures.

This time of year always seems to come up quickly for those working in education. In spite of assertions to the contrary, any educator will tell you that the school year is a breathless and frenetic time. No person ever fully understands the joy of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” until one has been a teacher.

But before our teachers and staff also scatter in pursuit of a little reprieve, some thanks for another great year are in order.

First, thanks to the parents and families of Eagle County who entrust us with the sacred responsibility of educating your children. We recognize that there are options and choices, but for the parents of the nearly 7,000 students who attend Eagle County Schools — please know that there is no greater professional honor than getting to work with your kids. We are grateful for your trust and support.

Second, thanks to the entire Eagle County community. Businesses, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, other government entities and countless engaged and caring individuals come together and provide so many opportunities for kids. Eagle County is not a big, metropolitan area — but our kids don’t miss out on much in terms of experiences and opportunities. The interconnected web of supports truly makes our home a special place.

Thanks to the educators, who invest tremendous energy and sacrifice on behalf of our community’s kids. I know it’s more than a job — it’s a calling, and one that comes with a huge investment of time and personal energy to do well.

I also know that the work our educators do in the classroom could not happen without the hundreds of professional and support staff that make the district work like a well oiled, forward moving, technically advanced machine. This includes our technology experts, transportation, maintenance and food services teams, business services and human resources staff and our district leadership personnel. Our people have lots of options for where they could work and what they could be doing. They don’t hear it enough, but please hear it from me — thank you for all you do for our kids and community.

Finally, thanks to all of our students — graduates or otherwise. Yes, you sometimes drive us crazy and you make mistakes — but we know this is part of being a kid, part of growing up, and learning to make good choices. Your spirit and dreams give us all hope for tomorrow. The kids are all right, and despite predictions to the contrary, the future is bright.

This summer, the year-round staff at Eagle County Schools will, almost immediately, start planning and working for next year. Facilities projects, curriculum changes, technology upgrades, planning experiences for educators — all these things happen behind the scenes and over the dreamy summer months ahead.

My father gave 27 years of his professional life to education. One thing he told me he loved about this business was the neverending cycle of new beginnings that comes with each academic year. Dad was right about that — and while we slow down for a moment to celebrate the graduates of 2016 and the accomplishments of all in our schools, we are also more than a little excited about what is to come.

Jason E. Glass is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools. He can be reached at jason.glass@eagleschools.net.

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