GIPS students, staff, parents and community:
With parent teacher conferences coming next week and in light of recent news items, it is a good time to remind us of Grand Island Public Schools’ mission and let you know it remains unchanged: Every Student, Every Day, A Success.
Our students have a right to a public education. In fact, we are required by law to educate every child who lives in our district. All children are welcome and encouraged to attend our schools.
More important than any law, we want our students to be in class every day. We look forward to seeing them here. When you join GIPS, you join a district rich in diversity, something in which we take great pride. We love our students. We provide a safe and engaging learning environment for them. We embrace what each unique student brings to our schools.
It does not matter to us where a student was born, who their parents are, what their home life looks like, what language they speak or with what abilities they come to us. We are here to provide them all with the opportunity to lead a successful life. We strive to get them future ready.
It is easy to be wrapped up in the national news, the drama from the political world, the fear circulating around us. However, our charge is to stay focused and maintain the relationships we have with our students and this community. Together, we are the ones who create a positive, supportive, unified culture.
When you look at GIPS, you see 9,800 students, 1,500 employees, a $100,000,000 budget, two dozen buildings. We spend countless hours on training, building partnerships and researching ways to improve our operations.
What everyone may not see or may easily forget is how every decision we make, every dollar we spend, every discussion we have, every second of every day is for one purpose: educating the hearts and minds of individual students.
Our nine-member Board of Education starts every January meeting by rededicating themselves to these operating principles:
- every student will be taught to read, write and communicate effectively; solve problems; acquire and apply knowledge; and demonstrate mastery through performance to the best of the student's abilities;
- every student will be treated with fairness and dignity;
- every student will experience a sense of belonging, contribution and success; and
- every student will develop responsibility and show respect for others as well as oneself.
- In educating students, we teach hearts as well as minds.
The Board isn’t required to do this. They do it because they find value in reminding themselves - and the community - this passion for students is what the district stands for. The Board sets the stage for creating the environment of student success.
These operating principles convey the intent of the work we do for students.
We know it is making a positive impact when we see the hug a teacher receives from a child in the morning. The fist bump with the custodian. The reassuring smile over a shared success. The close-knit unity of our teams and families. The early morning breakfast gatherings. The late-night rehearsals. These validate our acceptance and appreciation of all kids in our community.
When you hear us say Better Together, you should know it means all of us. Students, staff, parents and community. Together WE are GIPS. We are family. We are all invested in improving the lives of every student we have in our schools.
Nothing is more important to us than our students.
And nothing can or will change our commitment to every single one of them.
Dr. Tawana Grover