My son, Cal, finished his final year of football a few weeks ago. When the season ended, the Vinson family was sad, but grateful. Not grateful because it was done, but grateful because it happened. Our gratitude included his athletic experiences overall. However, the primary source of gratitude came from the coaches who poured into him things that made him a better football player, and more importantly, a better man.
Not to brag, but Cal is one of the finest men I know. His kindness, caring, and sense of honor are reminders of the people I admire the most. This includes both grandfathers, my brother, and now his coach, Bill Howard.
Coach Howard constantly stressed the values of the Wylie Way in every practice, every snap of the ball, and every game Cal experienced during his time in football. Cal admired Coach Howard and the long list of coaches responsible for his growth as a football player and a person. Every child deserves a person like Coach Howard. We have a goal that every Wylie ISD student will have an educator they can go to, and count on, to help them navigate school and achieve in life.
We go well beyond claiming this as a priority; we have established a plan to make it happen. It begins with a writing assignment. Each student in grades 5-12 is asked to write their favorite teacher a note.
Thousands of notes like these are reminders to teachers of their caring, compassion, and capacity to build relationships with students.
Many teachers across the district receive stacks of these notes. The response of Robin Best, McMillan Junior High teacher, most likely explains why she receives so many notes and why she is a favorite among students.
“Students often walk into our classrooms with anxieties, lack of confidence, or troubles beyond our school walls that we can scarcely imagine. As an educator, I feel a large portion of my responsibilities are to make each and every student feel valued, appreciated, and loved.”
Achieving students are happy and hopeful with a strong sense of well-being and engagement. Positive psychology researchers consider these essential building blocks for a successful and socially/emotionally balanced person. There is no better way to build a socially and emotionally achieving student than to foster positive relationships between the student and his/her teachers.
On Wednesday, December 11, we are hosting the 6th annual “Wylie ISD Relationships Day” where Wylie ISD teachers will take time during class to discuss the importance of positive relationships as a foundation for achieving in school and in life. I hope your child has a Coach Howard in his/her life.
We want our kids to see the value of positive relationships, and we even have them write down who makes them feel like they matter and what matters to them.
You can check that out in your child’s Achievement Profile by having your student log in at web.wylieisd.net/dashboard and talking it over together.
Most of our students will be updating that information on Relationships Day.
This week, please take the time to ask your kiddos about their favorite teachers and their favorite friends. And, inquire about why they like them so much. This is a big reinforcement regarding the value of positive relationships.
Thank you to our wonderful educators who pour their lives into our kids. Thank you, parents, for caring and loving them too. Building better people, one student at a time, is the Wylie Way!