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Finish Strong - April 2017

Finish Strong - April 2017

"Start strong, stay strong, and finish strong by always remembering why you’re doing it in the first place." - Ralph Marston

The school year will soon be coming to a close. It is hard to believe that most of the school year is already completed. There have been many great experiences and successes during this time. Four high school students will be graduating with their high school diploma and their associate’s degree from SWIC through the Running Start program. An additional 30 high school sophomores and juniors are expected to enroll in Running Start this fall to work on earning an associate’s degree while completing their high school diploma. One of our juniors from East St. Louis Senior High School beat out approximately 50,000 students from across 43 states to become a MathCON finalist. An additional 19 District 189 students received honorable mention within this highly prestigious national academic competition. We are finding that across the board, in almost all grade levels and courses, teachers are farther along in their mathematics curriculum than ever before. For example, by January this year, Algebra II teachers had covered more content than had been taught the entire previous year.

I am grateful for everyone’s diligent efforts to focus on excellence. The state assessments can be a laborious experience for students, families, teachers and administrators alike. We believe that the preparation and hard work of our staff and students in the classrooms will be reflected in these state assessments, as they already show in our NWEA assessments.

What matters most right now is how you decide to complete the school year. Maintain your focus and perseverance to finish the year strong. The year is not yet over and our youth deserve to receive a high-quality education through the final day of school. Stay committed to providing rigorous curriculum and maintain pacing guidelines to ensure our students receive the content necessary to be successful in the next grade. Our work is too important to take the easy path and coast through the rest of the school year.

Ponder on these inspirational words:

Finish Strong

It doesn’t take much effort to start things, finishing is what can be difficult. Finishing strong takes commitment! Anyone can have a dream; it takes perseverance to see it come to pass. The question is not who can start, but who can finish?

All of us have setbacks, disappointments, defeats, and frustrations. These experiences should be detours not dead end streets, teachers not undertakers, stepping stones not stopping stones, and temporary, not final. Most importantly, they are events, not a person. Opposition is a sign that you’re moving closer to your goal. You are close to your breakthrough. 

Shake off self-pity, cancel the pity party. Talk victory, not defeat. Embrace an “I can spirit.” Quit telling yourself you can’t win. Tap into finishing drive. Keep on driving, ignore the rearview mirror; focus on the front windshield. Be in it to win it!

The race is not always won by the swift or the strong, but by those who endure to the end. You weren’t created to quit. You were born to win, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness. To be the winner you were born to be, you must plan to win, prepare to win, expect to win, and finish strong!

I also encourage you to watch this brief video titled Finish Strong: Amazing Stories of Courage and Inspiration by Simple Truths to further inspire you: Finish Strong video.

Many of us entered the education field because we know that education can transform lives. Each of us – teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, support services staff and administrators – are here to serve the children and youth of East St. Louis. We have a huge, humbling and immensely important task: to prepare the future generation. We have entered this calling to serve them and one day we will be held accountable for how well we serve. Children are the world’s most precious resource. We are entrusted to ensure our students are prepared for the future by being college and career ready.

I sincerely want to thank each and every one of you for your role in our work. Remain passionate about your calling and continue to drive toward excellence. Do not settle for coasting through to the end – finish strong.

Yours in service,

Arthur R. Culver