The View from 32,000 Feet

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May 10, 2018

Dear Families,

This morning, I departed DIA at 8:55 AM. My destination-Arizona. My purpose to pick Maddy up from NAU for the summer. My purpose made the flight worth it. I hate flying. In fact, I loathe it. But in my defense, 24 years ago, Paul and I found ourselves on a very exciting flight. It included a passenger screaming fire. Flight attendants positioning themselves for an emergency landing and utter chaos that lasted about 9 hours. Ok, probably 10 to 20 minutes but seriously. Utter chaos.

The only thing that allowed me to walk the ramp to board a plane today was the destination. I would rather drive for two days than depart on a plane. My destination today made the one hour and fifty-five-minute flight, gate to gate, worth it.

I see many similarities between my flight and the school year. Each year, as we depart on a new school year, I realize my heart fills with many emotions. Excitement prevails as I anticipate the growth in each student. Yet, quickly that excitement transitions to contemplation and concern. I recognize immediately the cost of growth.

Growth means struggle, like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon. Growth means heartache and heavy suitcases. It means pain. I worry often that I won’t be at the right place at the right time for a student. I worry that students will face circumstances that make their suitcase too heavy for them to carry. Will I be able to support them? Will I be where I need to be when they need me? Will I be able to support the needs of each staff member so that they can support and love their students? I also recognize that between our departure and our arrival, I will be required to make hundreds of decisions. Some will be well received. Others will bring many questions.

I know that each year, between our departure and the arrival, we face turbulence similar to the turbulence that exists above the Rocky Mountains. Sometimes the turbulence overpowers us. It seems, at times, to knock us down. But the turbulence doesn’t last forever.

As the year ends and we reach our final destination, I see the view from 32,000 feet in the air. The mountains, valleys, and riverbeds radiate beauty. They reveal a landscape painted between the challenges and daily struggles. Our journey reveals a roadmap to the future for our students.

Sometimes the roadblocks appear insurmountable.  Sometimes, it seems the turbulence will last forever. Try as we might to resolve all concerns immediately, sometimes it takes times. Some academic struggles take time to resolve. Lessons need to be repeated in a variety of ways so all students grasp the concept in their own time. Some choices need to be addressed in another time and place. Yet the view from above reveals, that despite the turbulence, the journey produced beauty and growth.

As we prepare to reach our final destination and de-board the flight of another year, I celebrate that all of our students grew. Some grew in mighty ways, academically and socially. Others became stronger emotionally. Some lessons were not learned. Some challenges remain. As we reach our beautiful destination, I assert that some challenges remain. The rental car company may have reserved a RAV4 to pack up an apartment when we needed a Tahoe. The challenges that remain and new ones that arise offer us the opportunity to grow in new an exciting ways.

Honored to Serve You,

Janet Worley

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