Love, Leadership, Learning

February:  Love, Leadership and Learning

 Happy February!  I’m confident it’s going to shape up to be quite a month!  As we celebrate the holidays of Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day, the first makes me think of love and the second of leadership.  As we have embarked upon the second semester, I know all of you are focusing on learning.  As the 66th Montana Legislature continues in Helena, I’m hoping that those who represent us will consider all three:  love, leadership and learning.

Valentine’s Day is coming at a perfect time.  As the news cycle obsesses over national divisiveness, governmental funding, global unrest, and world-wide economic difficulties, it feels like we need to take a breath and focus on kindness, peace and love.  As a nation, it appears that we can do just that in February. Wikipedia notes that about 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year in the U.S., not including the hundreds of millions of cards school children exchange.  Valentine’s Day is a major source of economic activity, with total expenditures in 2017 topping $18.2 billion.  I challenge all of us to reach beyond the commercialism to truly make an effort to love others in authentic ways and to ensure we continue to show compassion and care all year long.

Presidents’ Day follows right on the heels of Valentine’s Day.  This national holiday, historically set aside to celebrate the accomplishments of Presidents Washington and Lincoln, should give us reason to reflect on all the leaders who have come before us and who have shaped what our country is today.  It’s a time of patriotic celebration and remembrance.  I think it’s also a good time for self-reflection on our own demonstration of those qualities that help us be effective in our work. It’s a good time to think about things like integrity, empathy, dedication, creativity, generosity, teamwork, graciousness, etc.  It’s a good time to commit to these kinds of ideals in our daily lives.

Lastly, February is a month of focused learning.  As I look at the school calendar, I am struck that there’s only about 80 days left in the school year.  We must cherish every single moment of learning with a sense of urgency.  Time is a precious commodity that we must use wisely this second semester.  It’s primetime for learning and February sets the stage.  The second semester is just as important as the first as we seek our mission:  GFPS successfully educating students so they can navigate their futures.  80 more days to make it happen!

I will also be sharing this sense of urgency with the Montana Legislature. We are paying attention to their actions around school funding to include monies for preschool, Career and Technical Education, and special education.  I will be speaking out on behalf of our kids, our community and our future.  I’m hoping February will motivate them to love people over party, to demonstrate effective leadership qualities and to cherish the learning that takes place in public education as much as we do.  Here’s to a great month!

Take care. Be safe.  Stay well.