I used to work in a school that was always in the newspaper because of the poor performance of the students on statewide tests. No matter how much we wanted to improve our test scores, each year the scores would not be high enough according to education department guidelines to make the cut. The teachers were hardworking and had a passion for teaching. They regularly attended staff professional development sessions and tried new strategies. Yet, because it was a very transient school with students of many languages, the challenge to raise the scores was daunting.
Even so, there were many positive things about the school, including the amount of learning that was actually taking place and the passion of the teachers and leadership team for the students. Our students would hug us each morning and greet us with a smile. Similarly, parents appreciated us because they knew we care about their children.
Although a school may not be performing well on a “high stakes” test, this does necessarily mean that the school is not performing in other areas. We need to be proud of every accomplishment we make with our students, remembering that our hard work and hope will bring results down the road – perhaps when one of our students becomes a teacher, a doctor, a nurse, or even the prime minister of Australia.
Persistent God, every gain I make is a step toward accomplishment. Help me to have the kind of love for my students that always hopes and perseveres. Amen.