More Than a Score


The ISTEP+ scores were released to the public last week. The scores were from the last school year. The newspapers have a breakdown of all the scores, how each school and district compare to each other and a bunch more data. That's what gets in the paper. Shoot, it's even the top story.



Let's take a look at what isn't in the newspapers:

  • The teacher that stays after school to help students with reading.
  • The money given and raised by the parent organizations to the classrooms and students.
  • The presents that teachers buy with their own money to give to students.
  • The teacher who just spent 30 minutes in line at the Dollar Tree to get Christmas stockings for all her students.
  • The teacher that gave up family time to attend a sporting event of one of their students.
  • The teacher that arrives early to help students with their math.
  • The teacher that bought a student's lunch because they didn't have any. For a week. 
  • The teacher that took a student aside to help them understand a life lesson.
  • The teacher that acts as a father/mother to a student going through a hard time.
  • The teacher that holds students accountable because there isn't accountability at home.
  • The teacher that opens the eyes of a student to show them that education is the way out of poverty.
  • The teacher that lights up a room with their presence and gets students to love learning.
  • The teacher that gives up their lunch hour to help students work on their Genius Hour projects so they have extra time.
  • The teacher that makes test days fun.
  • The teacher that hugs students (and other teachers) every day to brighten their day.
  • The occupational therapist that has helped a student finally figure out how to grip a pencil the correct way after 3,457 times of going through it.
  • The special education aide that gets paid next to nothing, but would give an arm, leg, kidney, or whatever for a student that needed one. 
  • The aide that has never raised their voice once to a student. 
  • The custodian who takes a student under his wing and shows them how to take pride in their work by being disciplined and teaches them a skill that they can use forever. 
  • The custodian who "had a little extra time this evening" and decided to wash and dry the basketball team jerseys while working her normal night shift load.
  • The teacher who consistently gets berated by parents in emails and is so stressed out they regularly have to see a therapist.
  • The counselor who daily listens to all of the middle school drama and somehow makes sense of it all.
  • The lunch ladies that consistently make lunches for everyone in a school twice a day. I think it's hard to make supper for my family. How about 500 students every day? Twice. 
  • The bus driver that says, "Good morning!" every day to all the students. 
  • The coach that takes his team to a funeral viewing of someone that all the players know and teaches them how to comfort a family, grieve with something, and that it's okay for a man to cry. 
  • The teacher that has lost a loved one, but doesn't take any days off of school so the students don't miss a beat. 
  • The teacher that comes in on Saturdays or Sunday evenings. 
  • The coach that takes the time to know all of his players and has visited their houses. 
  • The secretary that is always there for students.
  • The bookkeeper that always has change for a $5 so the teachers can get something from the vending machine.
  • The lay coach that runs before and after school practices and still works full time. 
  • The teacher that is never satisfied and learns more and more and more from getting involved in professional development on their own time to better meet the needs of their students. 
  • The administrator that is lining up families that are in need so they can have a meal and toys for the holidays. 
  • And on and on.
One could say that yes, all of these people signed up to do these jobs. But none of them deserve their work, their skills, their positive attitude, their hustle, their work ethic, their character, their tenacity, their ferocity, their occupation, their whole existence to be measured by a single score. Education is more than that. 

That list are the stories that need told. Not the scores of a test. 

Oh, and by the way, that list are things that I have seen or heard of happening in my district so far this school year. There are more, I just got tired of writing. 

So, on this Thanksgiving evening, I give thanks for all the employees that work at schools everywhere. You make a difference. You don't do things for the newspapers. You do things for children. Here's to you. 

You are more than a score. Much, much more. 

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