Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins

This week in Michigan City Area Schools, we are celebrating American Education Week — a week set aside to recognize the importance of public schools.

American Education Week is always celebrated the week prior to Thanksgiving, and it is a project endorsed by numerous professional education organizations. I think it is appropriate that this week falls just prior to Thanksgiving, because despite the many challenges we face in education, we have much to be thankful for.

I hope that this week you will join me in thanking our teachers, principals, and other certified staff for their hard work and dedication. On Wednesday this week, we will celebrate Education Support Professionals Day, which has been set aside to honor staff members who support our classroom teachers. We are truly grateful for the contributions of these employees:

• our secretaries — the expert "multi-taskers" who keep things running smoothly in our buildings;

 our bus drivers and monitors, who transport our students to and from school safely each day;

 our food service professionals, who provide nutritious meals in our cafeterias;

 our custodial and maintenance staff, who make our buildings and grounds a positive environment for learning;

 our paraprofessionals and instructional assistants, who support classroom teachers and students with special needs;

 our technology staff, and the many other specialists who contribute to our students' academic success and well-being.

As we celebrate American Education Week, I'd also like to personally thank you for your support of our schools. Whether you serve as parent volunteer, a mentor, a business sponsor, an athletic booster, or a guest reader in our classrooms — you are making an important contribution to public education.

I encourage you to visit our web site this week to learn more about our district's progress. We are making great strides in student achievement. We remain focused on improving the instructional core, career and technical education, and offering program options for families.

Thanks to our students, staff and community, our public schools are making a lasting and positive difference for the children of Michigan City.

Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins is superintendent of the Michigan City Area Schools.

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