A final message — Keep Growing | GUEST OPINION

As I retire from public education after 42 years, I want to leave you with one last message for our students, myself and the Marysville and Tulalip communities.  That message is Keep Growing!

That was the message to students last week from First Lady Michelle Obama:

The truth is — and this is important — no one is born smart. No one is born knowing how to read. No one is born knowing how to do math, or no one is born knowing how to play the flute — all of that comes with a lot of hard work.

It’s not about what you know; it’s about the effort that you put in, the amount of work that you’re willing to do to get where you’re going.  And everyone has to work hard. I have to work hard, the President has to work hard, and your teachers have to work hard.

And sometimes you make mistakes. Sometimes you’ll fail. But the important thing is, do you get back up when you fail? So I want you to try new things and not be afraid to fail — because we have all failed. I have failed.  Things have been really hard for me at times. I had to keep going and keep working hard.

But when you work hard and you invest thousands of hours in anything, you get better.  Hopefully you are learning that with your math, with your reading, with your dancing, with your singing, it’s about the amount of effort that you want to put into anything.

So I want you guys to be fearless — to be fearless learners. I want you to ask questions, take some risks. Don’t be embarrassed when you don’t know something.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, okay? And I want you to keep working hard at everything you do, because we expect really big things from you.

We want you to learn, and grow, and maybe go to college if that’s right for you. We want you to be performers, but we also want you to be teachers and businessmen, maybe even the principal of a school — maybe even the President of the United States. That’s what we expect from you, okay?

—  Michelle Obama

I couldn’t agree more, and encourage all of our students (parents of our students and our community members) to: Keep trying. Work hard. Ask questions and keep learning. You can join the Marysville Library summer reading program, take summer classes, engage in online learning, but most importantly, keep growing your brain!

Parents, if all of the above sounds familiar, it should. Our schools have been teaching this message to students over the past several years. Dr. Stephanie Fryberg, Director of Cultural Competency for our district, is one of the nation’s top researchers in this field. At a recent White House Conference she was asked about how to share these ideas across the country.

Education is the key to our future. Future family wage jobs require at least one year of college. Lifetime earnings double with one year of college or vocation training beyond high school. To sustain and grow our community, maintain our property values, pay our social security, we must collectively insure that every student has a positive future — ensure every student graduates — and ensure that every one of our students is prepared for college, career and life.  It is my parting request that we make this our collective moral and economic imperative.

Marysville is leading the way in learning how to motivate more students to work hard, grow their brains and succeed. Our teachers are collaborating, using data, learning how to close learning gaps.  Kudos to our teachers for their national recognition in using teams and data to improve student learning.

As I retire from Marysville School District as superintendent I leave with a heart full of memories and gratitude. Thank you to our creative, hard-working teachers and staff who are making a difference for our students. Thank you to our many, many community partners who have come beside us to support student learning. Thank you to Tulalip Tribes for a wonderful and powerful partnership, the city of Marysville and countless others who have supported our students and the school district, and thank you to a strong school board leadership team who is committed to continue the great work already underway. God has truly blessed me with great people, opportunities and partnerships during my nine years in Marysville.

I look forward to hearing of Marysville’s continued success in growing hope for our students, hope for our community, and hope for the future.

Larry Nyland is the Superintendent of the Marysville School District and can be reached at 360-653-0800.


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