Spring is usually considered a time of hope and renewal.
But we can't help but think that right now, as students get ready to return to the classroom, also is a fitting time for both.
The first day of school conjures images of students dressed in new outfits and armed with freshly sharpened No. 2 pencils, spilling off buses into classrooms decorated by teachers eager to create engaging learning environments.
There is the promise of potential.
Several area school districts held their first day of classes this week.
Students will return in droves next week to classrooms through the Sauk Valley, including students at Sauk Valley Community College, whose first day of classes is Monday.
They likely have a mixture of feelings churning inside as they prepare for that first day. Excitement to start the new year, maybe a little anxiety about a new teacher or starting a new school, and a little bit of sadness at the end of summer vacation.
Whatever the feelings are that first day, we're sure students and their parents have hopes and dreams for this academic year.
Maybe those wishes include getting straight A's, making the team, getting the lead in the fall musical, or making new friends. Maybe last year wasn't a great year, and they're excited about the potential that a new year brings.
We also have hopes for this academic year at schools in the Sauk Valley.
We hope students come to class every day ready to learn something new and build on the knowledge they have.
We hope they take advantage of opportunities to get engaged in their schools, whether that's through academics, athletics or extracurricular activities.
We hope parents help their children transition into the new year by helping them get organized, talk to them daily about how their day went, lend a hand with homework, and get engaged with each child's teachers. Learning doesn't stop at the classroom, and success at school needs to be a partnership between parent and educator.
We hope each school is gifted with teachers and administrators who want to share their love of learning with every student who walks through their doors.
We hope our local communities embrace opportunities to partner with their local school districts, whether it's through providing mentoring or internships to students, attending football games and school plays, or contributing to a PTO.
We hope state and federal lawmakers don't burden local districts with more unfunded mandates that take money away from what schools are here to do – educate.
Most of all, we hope students, parents, teachers and the community embrace the potential that a new academic year brings.