During my 30 years teaching in the Coronado Unified School District (CUSD), I had the honor and the privilege of working with dedicated and compassionate professionals who always put the students first. Custodial staff, office personnel, classroom instructors, and administrators all worked together to ensure every student in the district felt safe.

One of my greatest gifts as an educator was the opportunity to nurture my students and support them as they explored their talents and passions in life. As one of the co-founders of the Coronado School of the Arts (CoSA), I was proud to help create an environment where young artists could express themselves, where they could experiment and fail and try again. Many of them had never had that type of learning experience before. Some had been ridiculed and harassed because they were “different”. In the early days of CoSA, I remember one student joyously proclaiming, “It’s so great to see people like me singing and dancing in the halls.”

Belonging. Acceptance. Understanding. A sense of purpose. Everybody wants that and needs that. As educators we accept that it is our responsibility to provide that for every one of our students. I truly believe that is what the school board, the principals, the teachers, and every staff member of CUSD is working towards. Coronado students -- students everywhere -- deserve nothing less. They deserve to be accepted for who they are. They deserve to feel a sense of be- longing. They deserve the opportunity to express their opinions and to listen to the opinions of others even if they disagree. They deserve to be taught critical thinking skills so they can come to their own conclusions based on fact. They deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and compassion, and encouraged to treat others the same way so they can grow into their best selves.

When I taught “To Kill A Mockingbird” to my 9th grade English classes, we talked about prejudice and “walking in someone else’s shoes.” When reading “The Crucible” my 11th graders and I explored the dangers of mob mentality and being quick to judge others. And while studying “Hamlet” my seniors and I discussed what happens when power is abused and people refuse to take responsibility for their actions. I always shared with them and stressed the importance of the advice Polonius gave to his son Laertes as he sent him off into the world:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

HAMLET, Act I, Scene III

Shakespeare knew what he was talking about. That’s still good advice. Over the years, many of my former students have thanked me for making literature relevant to real life.

Thank you to everyone in CUSD who continue to teach our students well. You deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.

Sincerely

VOL. 112, NO. 19 - May 11, 2022

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