I volunteer at my daughter’s school every Thursday afternoon. Right now, we’re working with the kids on descriptive writing: What sounds do you hear at an Omaha Storm Chasers game? How does a chocolate waffle taste? What does your puppy’s fur feel like when you pet it? Her teacher pushes his third graders to carefully organize their thoughts, develop them in stages – and use “juicy” words to express them.
Inevitably, I leave class every Thursday feeling rejuvenated, reassured the future is in good hands. These kids have great ideas and write enthusiastically. Beyond that, they’re learning new ways to approach math problems and they’re immersing themselves in technology – in terms of projects and learning platforms. They participate in discussions, are generally well-behaved and respect each other’s opinions.
My parents, based on their media outlets of choice, think our nation’s public schools are in a full-blown state of disaster. Not in my neighborhood, I tell my Mom – just the opposite. I see teachers who are committed, innovative and caring. The principal knows names and parents are involved. (If you’ve never witnessed the smooth execution of an elementary school lunch period, you should – it’s a sight to behold.)
My wife and I have made some questionable calls during our 20 years of marriage – the convertible Mustang when a Honda Civic would have sufficed? Yeah… I remember that – but we’ve never second guessed where we planted ourselves and by extension, how our three kids – one in elementary school, one in middle school, one in high school – are now being educated. How would I describe our experience with Omaha education? I can think of one “juicy” word: Stupendous.