Heart and Hope

Posted by Jonathon Wetherington on 12/15/2019 4:00:00 PM

Happy Monday,

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  When I left teaching at the college level in 2007, I was excited about working in a high school, and 12 years later, nothing has changed. Yet, I still enjoy the launch of a new semester, and the closure that comes 18 weeks later.  I love to watch students learn and teachers teach, which is like poetry coming alive. In a high school, every day brings a new set of challenges and opportunities. Some of which you have foreseen and others which come right out of left field. Frequently, change is a constant in our world, but most of the time, these changes fail to deliver on the promise that they offered.  Since so many things in education seem to never change or seem too difficult to change, such as students waiting until the last minute to apply themselves, we lose heart and hope.  

Friday was a day in which I was reminded that change is difficult, and sometimes, yes sometimes, it fails to yield quick results.  Last Thursday and Friday were two days that my heart and hope took a beating because despite several pieces of positive data over the last few weeks, we were reminded that opening a school is hard work. In spite of how we feel about the Awards, the Performance Based Awards are an amazing opportunity for teachers at all schools and for teachers at Paul Duke STEM.  I left post-secondary education because the impact that K-12 education offers is so much greater, and the opportunities to impact students are so much larger. The truth is that the true promise of K-12 education lies in the power and effectiveness of its teachers, and I am thrilled to be in a school district that is willing to reward K-12 teachers and pilot innovative ideas such as digital learning and STEM for all students. 

The Roman god Janus had two sets of eyes—one pair focusing on what lay behind, the other on what lay ahead. As we develop and implement our vision of excellence as an innovative STEM school, we, too, will need to focus on both what has worked in the past and the innovative opportunities our school offers. Therefore, as we close out this semester, I wanted you all to know how excited I am about our future. I am truly excited to see how our students do on their finals. I am excited about our first graduating class and graduation. I am excited about our 3rd consecutive recruiting class of more than 310 students from Summerour and Pinckneyville, and I am excited to support the amazing teachers here. 

Here’s to an exciting end of the semester!


“To rid yourself of old patterns, focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new.” 

- “Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book that Changes Lives” by Dan Milleman