Welcome Back to School

Frederick Lane
North Avenue News
2003-09-12

It’s a subtle thing, the arrival of fall. It sneaks up on us, creeping in past the half-empty sun screen bottles, tie-dyed camp t-shirts, and scuffed sandals. But the days are definitely shorter: apples hang red and heavy in the orchards, and pumpkins swell slowly in the field, awaiting their carved fate. Another summer’s vanished into the scrapbook.

The cooler temperatures help mark the arrival of another school year. It’s been a busy summer for the Burlington schools: a number of facilities, including Champlain here in the South End, have had renovations and repairs done over the summer. Throughout the system, teachers and administrators took heroic steps to help get the schools ready for our children. Librarians stayed late to re-organize and re-shelve books, teachers set up desks and made countless lesson plans, and principals were even seen vacuuming hallways. The dedication shown to the students in this city is impressive.

The dedication is all the more impressive (and moving) given the struggle over the school budget last spring. Although the damage was not nearly as bad as it could have been, our school system certainly suffered some dents. Our classrooms are more crowded than they were last year; computers and software are not being upgraded in a timely fashion; necessary repairs (like a crumbling high school track) threaten to take funds from equally vital budget resources.

A successful harvest depends upon well-prepared fields, timely planting, and lots of weeding. The same is true for our children: to harvest strong, well-educated citizens, we need to provide good facilities, up-to-date resources, and the teachers to cultivate their growth. The temperatures outside may be falling, but in each of our schools, it’s springtime. Let’s hope it’s a bumper crop.

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