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Parents, community make a difference

Today is the first day of school for many Lawrence County children.

Friday, August 20, 1999

Today is the first day of school for many Lawrence County children. And if today wasn’t their first day on the school bus, they will be facing that deadline within the next couple of weeks.

All schoolchildren have a universal look. On the first day, they are scrubbed, their clothes are new and they actually know where their pencils and backpacks are.

And today was no exception.

The children who waited at the bus stops today looked so excited in their new clothes and with their ever-widening grins.

Well, OK, that was probably the kindergartners.

But no matter who they were today, or where they got on a bus to go to school, there is one quality each of these youngsters and teenagers has in common. They have a lot of untapped potential.

And many of us are counting on the county’s schools to help them turn that potential into skills that will last them a lifetime.

We count on our schools to give our children the start they need to make a success of their lives, no matter what kind of goals they have.

In today’s edition of The Ironton Tribune, you will see our annual back-to-school tab and among the articles will be several messages from area superintendents about their hopes for the coming year.

In every article, you will read "academic excellence" and "improving proficiency test scores" as two of the most important challenges all the county’s districts will face this year.

You will also find concern for students’ safety in every district and plans to watch for the signs that could lead to a tragedy in their hometown.

They aren’t waiting for a situation to get to the point of the tension at Columbine High School. Their goal is to provide the structure and resources their students need before they get so desperate or depressed that they feel they have nowhere to turn.

And troubled children will be identified early, too, before they have a chance to hurt their peers. There will be zero tolerance for guns and violence.

In Lawrence County, students will be able to count on not just their peers, but their teachers and administrators.

Now, that is what the schools are promising to do for our children. There is, however, a critical element that must be added to make this a successful year in the county schools.

You and me.

Without community support and parental involvement, Lawrence County schools cannot possibly accomplish everything they want to this year.

Make this the year that you get involved with your schools. Volunteer your time to work with the PTO, tutor children who need extra help or volunteer a couple hours a day on the playground.

Let your children and your schools know they can count on you and that you think education is important.

You can be sure that message will have an impact not just on the county’s educators, but on your children as well.

And there is no better place to invest a little of yourself than in your children and grandchildren.

They are our future.

Let’s show them this year that they are really our top priority.

Renee Carey is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune.