September 17, 2018: Relationships

Spotlight - September 21, 2018

Hello Black River Falls Community!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson, Superintendent of the School District of Black River Falls and I’m here to share with you this week’s Spotlight on Schools!  This week I want to share with all of you a topic that we’ve been talking an awful lot about among our staff. Each of the buildings is focusing on the importance of forging strong relationships with our students, families, and greater community.  There is so much evidence that only through positive relationships can we expect students to engage and commit to the hard work and perseverance it takes to really move forward! You’ve maybe heard the saying that kids don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.


This week I had the opportunity to attend the State Superintendent Conference in Madison and heard a fantastic speaker that affirmed that all of these discussion within the District are absolutely the right conversations to be having.  Dave Weber was the presenter and his presentation began with the old playground chant that I’m guessing every single one of you can say along with me about sticks and stones. Mr. Weber said that the strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue.  You may giggle, but consider that it may be small in size yet how few of us can hold it? Therein lies the challenge for all of us. The old saying that sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt us...I hope we can all agree is absolutely, 100%, a big fat lie.  


A real challenge in today’s world is that we, whether adults or students, are being bombarded by “words” at a rate faster than many of us can even fathom.  Never before have I felt people were so empowered to share hurtful words without giving it a second thought. Whether it be through social media or face to face interactions, as a society we are so quick to share negative and hurtful words and feel empowered to broadcast a negative interaction with one individual to the largest audience possible.  


Why do we allow these negative words out?  We are definitely not trying to find solutions or to build people up; we do it to tear others down.  Maybe some feel powerful when they tear at others? The impact of words on students results is remarkable and has been proven in study after study in all age groups of people.  WORDS MATTER. Words impact relationships. Relationships impact culture. Culture impacts results. Whether you are five, or fifty, when someone else tells you that you have what it takes to be amazing you immediately want to be amazing!  You will stand a little taller, try a little harder, and begin taking steps to become amazing!  


My challenge for the staff, as well as the community as a whole, is to take care with our words.  Let’s use the power of our words to build up our entire community and every individual within it to be the best that they can be!  If we expect the best, we become the best, and together we are unstoppable.


I’d like to share the feedback from a parent that used their words to build up others in our Feedback Survey: “Mr. Youngthunder is the highlight of my child's school day. When you have a teenager that thinks a history class is better than lunch period, you know you've got something special happening.”


As always, if you have any questions about this, or anything else within the District, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  Let’s build up our community and show our Tiger Pride in all that we do!


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