Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
And once again, let me welcome you to the 2009-2010 school year. Now that we've gotten a couple of weeks of school under our belts, I'm sure everyone - students, parents, teachers, and administrators alike - are settling into a routine.
I hope you noticed the quote that I placed at the beginning of my message. I don't think there is a statement that is more appropriate for us as we begin a new school year. Let's all challenge ourselves to commit to learning - not just learning in the traditional sense, but learning that involves stretching our minds and opening our hearts.
This is not to say that the traditional subjects - the three Rs, if you will - aren't important. On the contrary, those subjects are the basis for everything else that our students learn. But as parents and educators, let's encourage our students (and ourselves) to go beyond the requirements of the traditional subjects…to learn more, to do more. Study a little longer; seek out additional information about a particular topic. That type of learning will stick with you and last you a lifetime.
If your student learns by doing, then help him find ways to set his learning in action. If a social studies lesson about the plight of starving children in a far-away country has caught his attention, help him find a local food pantry or shelter where he can volunteer his time. If she's concerned about the environment and the carbon footprints we're leaving, encourage her to start a green living campaign among her friends and classmates.
These two examples illustrate that learning can begin in the classroom, but it certainly can extend far beyond its walls and the impact of putting that learning into action can be powerful.
Speaking of powerful impacts, NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson recently announced that his foundation would provide up to $150,000 in grants to Cabarrus County Schools and other neighboring school districts to fund innovative and creative teaching programs. Lowe's Motor Speedway also announced a fundraising partnership with our district and others in the region that will give schools the opportunity to earn money from ticket sales to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the speedway in October.
Both of these partnerships come at a much-needed time for education. On the heels of the budget challenges of last year and the extended struggle to hammer out a budget for this current school year, these opportunities to supplement our financial resources are indeed welcome. We are very appreciative of the generosity that the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Lowe's Motor Speedway have shown.
This month, we also celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. This national observance gives us an opportunity to commemorate the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American culture.
Other events on the calendar for September include our monthly Board of Education business meeting and work session, and the dedication ceremony for Cox Mill High School. For your convenience, I've included the dates and times:
• Cox Mill High School Dedication Ceremony
September 13, 2009
3 - 4 p.m.
Cox Mill High School
• Board of Education Business Meeting
September 14, 2009
• Board of Education Work Session
September 24, 2009
Concord High School
In closing, I want to assure you that Cabarrus County Schools is committed to producing students who are lifelong learners because we also believe that learning is a treasure.
Dr. Barry Shepherd