The first days of school are surprisingly upon us, with most schools beginning in the middle of August. Yes, in a few weeks, students will be starting a brand new school year, and the air of excitement is everywhere. Community programs are sponsoring back to school and other “kickoff” activities. The first days of school resemble baseball spring training or football summer scrimmages. Everything is possible and everyone is looking forward to having their best year ever. During these times, as the saying goes, hope does spring eternal.


The first days of school are surprisingly upon us, with most schools beginning in the middle of August. Yes, in a few weeks, students will be starting a brand new school year, and the air of excitement is everywhere. Community programs are sponsoring back to school and other “kickoff” activities. The first days of school resemble baseball spring training or football summer scrimmages. Everything is possible and everyone is looking forward to having their best year ever. During these times, as the saying goes, hope does spring eternal.
This summer I have seen staff preparing for the arrival of their students evidenced by the preparing of school kitchens, sprucing up schools with a good cleaning, waxing the floors, applying a fresh coat of paint to the buildings and checking school buses all in preparation for this new year. During the summer preparation for the new year, many have attended summer classes and have worked to ensure students receive the best up-to-date instruction. Students have also participated in summer programs provided by schools, libraries and community services that support productive learning activities.
While most students are looking forward to a positive beginning, some do worry about what the new year might bring. We all need to be mindful that we must provide a positive support system that ensures all children reach their potential. Collectively, parents, family, friends and the community must work diligently to provide all students with the best student-learning opportunities available.
As an educator of more than thirty years, I have witnessed Oklahoma educators demonstrating pride in providing students the best educational opportunities possible. To these people, working for schools is personally rewarding because working with children is more than a job.  There will be continued debates about the varying approaches and different methods for providing quality instruction and, yes, like all professions, some may not achieve the proscribed expectations. Still, in my opinion, I see our schools, whether it is in Shawnee, Wanette, Dale, Asher, places around or in between, providing Oklahoma’s students a good “bang for their education dollar.”
Again, with the start of school around the corner, we all need to help our children fuel their excitement by providing them our support.
 Editor’s Note: This guest editorial is offered by Steve Beall, a member of The Shawnee News-Star Editorial Advisory Board. He is also assistant superintendent of The Shawnee School System. The views expressed by our guest editorialists and guest columnists are theirs, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the News-Star’s management.