Back to school, back in busi­ness

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum - Our Opin­ion

For most pub­lic school stu­dents in Calvert, it was a glo­ri­ously long sum­mer — 81 days’ worth to be ex­act.

Thanks to a much-de­bated ex­ec­u­tive or­der last year by Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R), classes for this school year didn’t start un­til yes­ter­day, the day after La­bor Day.

So for those of you mark­ing off the cal­en­dar, it’s two days down, and just 173 to go un­til the end of school June 8. Classes for the county’s pub­lic school stu­dents be­gan yes­ter­day. The county’s pri­vate schools opened their doors last week, when pub­lic schools nor­mally would have joined them. But ac­cord­ing to the re­sults of our on­line poll, a ma­jor­ity of Calvert res­i­dents seem to have en­joyed the longer break.

Stu­dents at North­ern High School can see their new school cam­pus un­der con­struc­tion this year, with a com­ple­tion

date of 2019. That means those who are fresh­men now will al­most def­i­nitely get to step foot in a new build­ing be­fore their high school ca­reers are up.

But of course, it’s what goes on in­side that mat­ters even more than build­ing cos­met­ics.

Many stu­dents are in school for the first time, in kinder­garten and prekinder­garten. And by now all of them, from the youngest to the old­est, have dis­cov­ered if they share a class­room with friends.

All of them, from age 4 to 18, are learn­ing about the ex­pec­ta­tions of their teach­ers this year. Those teach­ers are set­ting a tone they hope will last through the school year. They are get­ting to know their stu­dents — and also get­ting to know what their stu­dents know. De­pend­ing on the age of those stu­dents, that may mean find­ing out if they know how to tie their shoes or if they are ready to dive into hon­ors chem­istry.

So it’s a time for fresh starts, and for teach­ers and staff to re­dis­cover, as they do each year, why they re­main in this pro­fes­sion, this vo­ca­tion, this call­ing they have cho­sen. All of these tal­ented and car­ing peo­ple are en­gaged in enor­mously im­por­tant work that shapes the lives of young peo­ple. That can’t be stressed enough.

In­deed, lives will change over the next 173 school days be­tween now and next spring. Eyes will be opened, so­cial skills de­vel­oped, con­tent learned, steps to in­de­pen­dence and ma­tu­rity they will need in their adult lives will be mas­tered. In short, stu­dents will be get­ting an ed­u­ca­tion.

What hap­pens in these schools, and in the pri­vate schools that ed­u­cate hun­dreds of more stu­dents, will also plant seeds for much of what will hap­pen in Calvert County after they grad­u­ate and be­gin to con­trib­ute to and in­flu­ence the life of this com­mu­nity.

Calvert schools in­clude a some­what eclec­tic mix of stu­dents. There are the rel­a­tive new­com­ers whose par­ents are here be­cause of work associated with Patux­ent River Naval Air Sta­tion to the south, Joint Base An­drews and Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to the north or other pro­fes­sional op­por­tu­ni­ties. Oth­ers with deeper roots in Calvert are board­ing buses whose driv­ers once fer­ried their moth­ers or fa­thers to the same school.

All of them are now gath­ered in the schools, and their in­flu­ence starts now. They will be con­tribut­ing, most of them pos­i­tively, to the work and growth that will take place in class­rooms in the months ahead.

So stu­dents, let’s open those books. There may very well be home­work tonight — and that’s a good thing.

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