I have been in education for 11 years. Four of those years have been in an administration. I am approaching the end of my first year as the Dean of Students at Ottawa Township High School.
When the job opening became available, I was very intrigued because it is my alma mater and I was excited to have the chance to be able to go back and work at a place I love so much. I was excited to give back to the community in which I live and to the young minds that will one day be our community leaders.
Although I was excited, I will be the first to admit I was a little nervous to apply after hearing and reading all the past comments made about OHS within the community. As a parent, I was particularly intrigued to see firsthand what is going on since my own children will attend OHS in the future. I was very curious. Is it really “Heroin High?” Are the students unruly and disrespectful? Is the staff difficult? I have come to find out that all answers are a definitive NO!
In the time I have been at OHS the staff and students have had so many great accomplishments, and it is unfortunatethe negative comments foreshadow these positive achievements. Social media should be used to assist in cultivating pride in our school and community. The variety of programs offered at OHS is thriving and there are more added every year. Still, all I see is negative. It saddens me as a taxpayer, community member, employee and, most importantly, a parent because I see OHS as a place of endless potential. And I mean ENDLESS! The people I work with hear me say this all the time. The staff and students I have the pleasure to be around everyday could move mountains!
Let me be clear, I am not writing about all the politics of OHS. I could never cover that as I am brand new and I have not been through the last decade of events. Nor do I care to dwell on them because that is not going to assist in moving forward in the best interest of our students. My interest is moving forward together as a school and community.
Our children are unaware of how lucky they are to live in this amazing country, which offers every person an education. Not all countries or children are as lucky. Negative articles on the news and social media, negative news reports, negative banter between adults and negative dinner time talk do not help children cherish the education so many would die to have. Strong communities build strong schools. Strong schools produce strong community members and strong community members build strong communities. This should be our goal.
I am simply here to say: It is a great place! It is filled with great kids and a wonderful staff! Every school has issues. Every. Single. One. Like every other school in America there are things that need to improve. In order for our schools to thrive and improve, the students, staff and, most importantly, the community need to be supportive and proud of our schools. If we do this we will see change like we’ve never seen before.
DR. KRISTIN HEREDIA lives in Ottawa and is loving everything life has to offer. She can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.