Notes from the Superintendent
By the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century the east coast of the United States was dotted with lighthouses. Every dangerous stretch of coastline had a tall, majestic looking tower with a brightly shining beacon which helped guide ships safely to their destinations. Most of us know that these lighthouses saved the lives of many sailors. I learned recently that when the seas were particularly bad or the visibility extremely poor that the light keeper would ask all those along the coast to put lanterns in their windows and lofts, thus adding more light during the most dangerous times. hese lights were referred to as the lower lights. They too are credited with keeping many ships from peril. These lower lights inspired the hymn many of us learned in our youth: "Let the Lower Lights Keep Shining." It continues to be a favorite of mine.
Parents and school staff working together for children create areas of safety where children can grow and achieve great things. Together, we become the community's lighthouse for education. We shine brightly, when we work together, providing excellent guidance for our young people. Our working together creates a beacon which helps many children, if not most, navigate the exciting and sometimes dangerous course which can lead to becoming a well educated adult and good citizen. When we are able to build positive, strong partnerships to support the development of children and youth, great things happen in their and our lives.
However, some of our children find themselves in dangerous, stormy seas and the educational lighthouse created by parents and teachers alone is just not enough. In our community, we are fortunate to have lots of "lower lights" for children in need. The Department of Social Services, foster care parents, hild Help, court services, the Ministerial Association and the affiliated churches, civic clubs, scouting sponsors, caring grandparents, Families First, OPTIONS, and so many more groups and individuals offer support and direction to our youth in danger. They are wonderful lower lights!
Much discussion has surrounded the African proverb which says, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." Many believe that, rather than a whole village, it took two caring, responsible parents to raise a child. I know that schools work best when both of a child's parents are interested, involved, and supportive of education. In most instances, schools and parents together can help a child confront and overcome most problems he or she faces. Unfortunately, in the real world every child does not come to us with two caring, responsible parents interested in helping him or her be a successful student. Some of our children are growing up in zones of danger. When the lighthouse fails to work and the lower lights aren't working, we (every one of us) lose the child.
I want to thank the community in general and those groups noted above for their support of the public schools in the county. People and organizations who care about the well being of youth make the work of a school superintendent very rewarding. The strong support of caring parents and excellent "lower lights," together with the strong fiscal support provided the schools by the Board of Supervisors, send a clear message that our children and their education are important. We will continue to work with the parents to be an even brighter lighthouse. But to paraphrase the refrain of the hymn:
Let the lower lights keep shining. Send a gleam across the waves.
Some poor fainting, sinking student you have rescued, you have saved.
Culpeper County Public Schools is a publicly funded organization
No. of Schools: 7
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