It truly is hard to believe that this is the last week of January and with sunlight lasting little longer we continue to move forward in providing the most relevant, effective and positive educational experience we can for all of our students. As I visit classrooms or meet with students I once again must applaud our staff and our parents for the habits of mind that are being instilled in our students daily.
At the upcoming School Committee meeting, the preliminary 2024 budget will be presented to the School Committee. The budget is certainly a reflection of the core values of the district and we will be fiscally responsible while ensuring our students and staff have what they need to flourish. Yet, despite my role in “leading” the presentation it is vital to remember that our Director of Finance, Kara Lees is the engine behind the development of the budget. Her passionate, meticulous and dedicated work cannot be emphasized enough. In collaboration with all Principals, Directors and Central Office Administration, Kara has done so much more than crunching numbers and we ALL owe her a tremendous thanks.
The FLMS concert took place on Tuesday evening and the students as always were outstanding, both in their talents and in their love of the arts, as they were led by such enthusiastic teachers. What was just as compelling to me was the number of students who went to support their peers and the wonderful conversations between family members and our musicians of the joy our students felt performing. Those are moments we can never get back and why the arts continue to flourish.
We all continue to grow and learn and yet one constant, probably as we get older is how precious time is and how important that we all take care of what matters most- our loved ones, our health and each other. I have never agreed with the term work-life balance as I fully believe the term should be altered to life-work balance in order to place an emphasis on our “circle of well being”. It does not mean we do as little work as possible, or we should not be expected to give fully to our professions, we absolutely must do that, yet we must not forget our well being and the well being of our loved ones. This story was shared with me when I first entered administration many years ago. I believe it is something we must give to everyone as we continue to live in a world where taking time for ourselves or our loved ones is not seen as healthy, a world that seems to be increasingly short on time, patience, and remaining present in the most important aspects of our life. I know I refer back to it often as I am blessed to do such incredibly important work as an educator. I hope it resonates with you in some way.
A man came home from work late, tired and irritated from a very long day, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.
SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?” replied the man.
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the man said.
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make in an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make 100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow 50?”
The father was furious, “If the only reason you asked is so you can borrow some money to buy a toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room.The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that 50 and he really never asked for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.” Are you asleep, son?” He asked.
“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy. “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man. Here’s the 50 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you daddy!” He yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father. “Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.”Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.
“Daddy, I have 100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?
Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you and then play catch.”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.
Everyday I see our Teachers, Paraprofessionals, Secretaries, Principals, Assistant Principals, Directors, Nurses, Directors, Coaches, Advisors, IT and Library Media Specialists, our SRO, Food Service,Maintenance, and Custodial Staff, Central Office Staff, as well as our community partners.first responders and Town officials give extra time to our students in both communities and all too often hear only negative rather than th appreciation they all deserve. Applaud them and understand that the extra they do is “time away”
May your week be filled with enough of what we all need- love, kindness, appreciation, and support from those that matter most.And remember that time is not about more and more hours, it is about spending the time we have being present and making the time count.
I wish you well and most of all…time with those you care about most!
Alan Strauss, Superintendent
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