Education column: Dose of first-day anticipation would be healthy throughout year

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy: Clovis Municipal Schools

“Every child … every time.” That’s our new motto at Clovis Municipal Schools.

Last Thursday was the first day of school. I had to be at a number of different school sites because of my job, and one commonality was striking: a distinct sense of eager anticipation in the air.

This is what I saw:

I saw students of all ages, dressed in their first-day-of-school clothes, looking fresh and crisp, excited, some a little nervous, purposefully making their way to new classrooms.

I saw teachers greeting students with wide smiles, laughing with parents, or walking through the halls with students following behind like goslings.

I saw principals in the midst of everything, captains at the helm, surveying the whole, darting here and there as they dealt with last-minute issues that arose.

I saw school secretaries in the front office functioning like “mission control,” pointing directions to parents, offering warm greetings to returning students, answering phones, applying a bandage to a knee (already!) … all of this simultaneously.

I saw custodians here and there with warm smiles for the children and parents, one reaching out to steady a child as he was about to trip and fall.

These sights reminded me, too, of the invisible support staff all over the district — down in the engine room, so to speak — ensuring that everything was in place or working to expedite what was not yet ready.

Best of all, I saw parents everywhere, bringing their children to school, placing them in our charge. Some parents dropped off older students and waited in the car; some walked hand in hand with their child to the front door; many escorted kids all the way to the classroom. I saw one dad at the door of a kindergarten classroom brush away something from his eye.

If we could only bottle the “first day of school” and dose ourselves periodically throughout the school year …

Nelson Mandela said, “ Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Sounds about right.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at: