Rupert Howell editorial 8/14/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 14, 2015

One month later: teachers teaching, students learning

It was midnight July 10 when the Superintendent Tim Wilder looked at the burning building that housed his district’s kindergarten going up in flames. He had no idea what the next step was or how to take it, but less than a month later school started on schedule and life goes on.

The next day the second year superintendent called his trustee board together and they immediately declared the circumstances an emergency situation and gave Wilder the green light to proceed with haste.

A maintenance director had to drop his campaign plans and concentrate on re-configuring classrooms and a newly-hired public information officer had to return from a long-planned Florida vacation.

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Teachers and staff went to work immediately once a plan was approved to house classrooms in different buildings and the push was on.

Over the years I’ve observed just how ready teachers are for a break at the end of each school year. That’s why I find it odd that usually around two weeks prior to reporting for duty for fall semester, they are already in their classrooms tidying and straightening in preparation for their new students.

But teachers and staff found another gear immediately and with less than one month prior to school opening and readied their temporary spaces for students.

One said that her students would never know that their classroom location was temporary—a sentiment also expressed by others nearby.

Usually when taking photos of ladies for publication there is a certain amount of vanity involved, such as making sure lipstick is applied and hair is in place.

But as photos were shot of teachers receiving donated items, gift cards and such, any vanity was left behind. Teachers were just concerned about getting back to work and building their “nests” for their incoming classes.

From experience I can also tell you not to get in the way of a teacher building her “nest” under disruptive circumstances. They will run you over.

It should be comforting for patrons of the district to know that financial director David Rubenstein has dealt with disasters such as fire and hurricane in districts where he was previously employed.

The local community and others from places like DeSoto County, Oxford and Ole Miss have responded  with literally truckloads of donated items for classrooms and students. First Security Bank’s challenge to match up to $15,000 in donations was quickly met and exceeded.

In recent memory, only the drive to “Cool the Kids,”a drive in the early 1990s to put air conditioners in every South Panola classroom, could compare to the broad range of community support—and that was on such a smaller scale over a longer period of time

Meanwhile buses are rolling, teachers are teaching, students are learning and life goes on in South Panola District. We should be thankful.