By Juan RangelStudents’ ability to attend school regularly and do well academically is determined, in part, by the degree to which their basic needs such as stable housing, adequate nutrition, and healthcare are met. A growing body of evidence suggests that students...
From The Team
SchoolSmartKC is excited to continue our work in Talent Development with an additional focus on building representation for educators of color.
For many, this time of year is a sprint: full speed from Halloween, speed bumping through Thanksgiving on a headlong path to the Holidays and the end of the year. We pack in Star Wars costumes, overeating, travel, wrapping paper and revelry into the smallest window possible. However, for me, my entire immediate family and around 19 million other U.S. veterans, we also sneak in celebration of a holiday that should be ripe for pause and reflection for all of us.
Since I can remember, I’ve been taught to serve. First by my parents, who reminded me often that we “lift as we rise,” and that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase “it’s better to give than to receive,” but if you were to ask your co-workers, family, or friends what it means to give, and whether giving only makes an impact if it has monetary value, I’m sure each person would give you a different response, and it can be hard to identify the “right” way to give, and financial giving isn’t always an option for many families.
Choosing education as a career came because of many lessons learned, restarts, and developing a deep understanding of what mattered most to me. The choice to become an educator, and dedicate my life to the education of others, was grounded in my belief that education is one of the most important roles undertaken in our society, and one of the greatest and most significant resources we have to empower individuals.
Denzel Washington says, “at the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”
Growing up, I was always taught by my parents that in most aspects of life the sum of our parts was greater than the individual pieces. I was also taught that servant leadership – the act of leading and being a contributing member to a community by serving that community – was the way to honor those before you, support those around you, and advance everyone together.
When I think about community, unity, and giving back, what resonates the most with me is the need for our community to unite to better serve individuals and populations in Kansas City that are facing inequity in different areas of their lives.
In my childhood household, giving to the community was something that my parents modeled daily. My parents were both teachers – although my dad joined the profession as a second career, after working as an engineer and a farmer in the rural part of England that I grew up in.