Schools are places of healing, support, and caring. Schools surround kids with what they need to grow and be nurtured. Some students get and receive these same things at home, in places of worship, and in their communities, but many other students have only their teachers, counselors, leaders, and friends to envelop them in times of pain.
This can make the summer a painful time for lots of kids. There are kids without access to food because the cafeterias are closed. There are kids that lack access to the Internet to explore their passions. There are kids that don't have access to the public library to continue their growth in literacy, and maybe most importantly, in light of the painful deaths that our country has recently endured in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas, there are kids without trauma and grief services when the events on the streets, or on television, generate confusion and pain.
The essential functions of public education are substantial, complex, and growing, and this recognition grows as the country works through, and leans into, the pain of recent weeks. It seems like all educators need to continue to tell the narrative about the deep and powerful roles that schools can play, and how in times when it seems like there is division everywhere, schools are ready to lead the healing, support, and caring.
Let us all return to places of learning as soon as possible...together...with a mission and passion for change that will emerge from the voices and wisdom of the next generation of leaders that we are shaping and growing on a daily basis. If there was ever a time for summer to end early, this may be it because the students need each other, the students need their mentors, coaches, and role models, and the students need to begin to do the work that will heal us tomorrow and for generations to come.