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Evansville, Indiana
August 21, 1998     The Message
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August 21, 1998

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Back to School gifts Catholic Schools Office remembers everyone By MARY ANN HUGHES Message staff writer There were back-to-school gifts for everyone -- administrators, school secretaries, students and facul- ' ty members -- from the Catholic Schools Office this year. Each administrator received a copy of the book, Jesus: CEO, written by Laurie Beth Jones. Phyllis Bussing, director of schools, said she hopes the book will serve as a "reminder of the model that Jesus is to us in any leadership position." She told the administrators that she hopes that as they read the book they will be "affirmed in the ways you emulate Jesus in your role as a school principal. May it also remind you of those things that perhaps present a more personal challenge to you in your work and life." Each school secretary received a teardrop pendant from the Catholic Schools Office. The front of the pendant features the laugh- ing Jesus. The back contains the words "... a time to weep and a time to laugh..." from Ecclesiastes. In a letter to the secretaries, Bussing reminded them that "you are often the first to extend the hand of Christ to someone seeking you out for assistance. "You will notice that this pocket charm shows Jesus laughing. May you be blessed abundantly for the work you do and for your wonderful example of Jesus in the school where you have been chosen to serve Him and His children. "Keep it in your pocket or on your desk as a reminder of the most important role you have to bring the light of Christ to all whom you meet each and every day." Prayer for a gentle spirit Your Son Jesus taught us to love. He has been called "Gentle Shepherd." He didn't fight; he never hurt anyone; he even for- gave those who hurt and killed him. Help me to be like Jesus, gentle and kind in what I do and in what I say. Never let me hurt anyone -- at any time. When 1 love others, I love you. Make me an instrument of your peace. I ask this through Jesus the Gentle Shepherd. Amen. j :i!!! !i!iiii. Each school secretary received a teardrop pendant from the Catholic Schools Office. The front of the pendant features the laughing Jesus. The back contains the words "... a time to weep and a time to laugh..." from Ecclesiastes. Every student and each faculty member a prayer card containing a prayer written by William Deering, diocesan director of worship RCIA. The prayer is entitled "Prayer for a germ1 spirit." School world today is different, in many ways, better COMMENTARY because more serious issues we leave the meetings with a By PHYLLIS BUSSING Director of Schools What a different world we face in education today as compared to when I began teaching nearly 30 years ago. As a new teacher, I won- dered if any student would really put a tack on my chair. I had never seen one of my own teachers jump or grimace with pain when they decided to take a long overdue rest in the chair behind their desk. But, I must admit that I did some- times wonder if the Sisters who taught me had padding under their habits that would have prevented them from feeling the tack if one had been boldly and strategically placed there. Now, many years later, teach- ers and administrators worry about much more serious mis- conduct. Our country has been changed forever by the acts of school violence that have taken such a priority" in our news reports from all forms of media over the last several months. Playground scuffles and talk- ing back to teachers are minor issues in many schools across our nation, not because they should not be concerns, but abound. We can buy books, video tapes, sample crises-plans, and a host of other materials to help our school personnel deal with the challenges of working in an educational setting today. Staff development is needed to instruct our school person- nel on how to deal with these issues. Many teachers and administrators seek out infor- marion on their own as they try to understand what is happen- ing to some of our young peo- ple today and just what they might do to help these troubled boys and girls. During the 1997-98 school year, I scheduled several meet- ings for administrators and teachers that allowed us to talk about some of these issues. Substance abuse, school violence, lack of parental con- cem and support, and student apathy are hardly uplifting topics of conversation. They are, however, what we must deal with more often than ever before. We brainstorm, discuss, cre- ate lists of things to do, and pray that we have the insights needed to solve the problems that we face. Most of the time positive attitude, feeling that we do have the ability to make a difference, and believing in the goodness of the children entrusted to our care. We know that our expecta- tions must be strong, clear, hopeful, and consistent. We also know that we will contin- ue to need and expect the sup- port of the parents of the chil- dren we teach. Without that support, we are powerless. Without that support, we can- not do what we have been trained to do. It is a different world today, no doubt. But in so many ways our world is much bet- ter. We recognize this often in our schools. Each day we see boys and girls who show care and con- cern for each other. Hundreds of parents are there to help at a moment's notice. Americans do reach out to help others in need whenever there is a crisis or a disaster of any kind. We can communi- cate with people all over the world in a matter of minutes -- and our children know how to do it. Technology has created a way to bring an abundance of valuable information into our classrooms. Students today can be connected by comput- er to a doctor doing surgery, a teacher in Japan working with her/his students on the same lesson, a hot-air balloon hov- ering over their state, a farmer experimenting with new fer- tilizers or weed control, or a businessman or woman who unceasingly challenges us to reach for higher standards of excellence. Our children are not afraid to explore with their comput- ers -- unlike so many adults who still fear the button that turns them on. The students we see are truly bright and beautiful young people, with dreams, hopes, and beliefs that they can make the world a better place. They come to school as five- and six-year-olds with an insatiable curiosity. They want to learn, and they want their parents to know what they have learned. One of our challenges as educators and as parents is to keep alive that curiosity and need to share as they mature. We need to take time also to talk about what they are learn- ing and dreaming. We need to provide for them in their class- rooms and homes ment that calms theiI soothes their hurts. 's We need to find waY together that ensure that v child will need to resort to vi lence to get our attention. Fa' ents and school staff us: meet these challenges as part ners more than ever before. With these challenges c, many opportunities for be," schools and a better world. Parents, you can expeCt hear from us. We need help your child to learn, and feel good about self. We need you to possible threats to our school environment. We need you to keep and other drugs away your child. We need you to model to child kindness, empath) appropriate behavior human beings. Our Catholic schools are v equipped to tear hold dear as ChristianS, cannot do that without constant assistance. We believe that partners. Walk hand it1 with us to make it a ful school year for your dren and you.