I have to admit, I have been having a hard time dealing with the national debate on school reform. I know that things need to change. Change is hard. Change can be messy. At the very least change is very uncomfortable. Change is inevitable, but this past week I was reminded of what is really important about education and what we need to make sure to stay focused on. During times of high stress, it never fails, a situation will occur, or a conversation will happen that causes me to take a step back and consider why I still believe in what I do for a living. An event this past week reminded me of a time that a student came into the office and asked for withdrawal papers and informed me she was going to drop and get a job. As always, whether it is me or the assistant principal, we try to take the time to discuss this decision with the student and try to reason them into considering all options rather than dropping out. At first the student did not want to discuss her decision with me. Her mind was made up. She was of the age that she did not have to have parental consent and she seemed determined to carry out a plan that did not include finishing high school. I knew this student fairly well because I had been her elementary principal and had developed a rapport with her to where we would talk to one another when we saw each other and tease each other about our favorite sports teams. On this day, however, she was not in any mood to talk to me and refused to tell me the reasoning that had led her to this decision. I knew this student had developed a good professional relationship with a teacher on staff, and as a last ditch effort I called this teacher in to talk with the student. What unfolded as I witnessed it was a remarkable conversation between a teacher who cared for her students and a student who both liked a respected her teacher. I could tell that their relationship had become one in which the teacher had a vested interest in the student and that the student felt cared for in her presence. I will not divulge the content of their conversation, but suffice it to say, the student remained enrolled, graduated, and went on to a two year technical school. Last I heard, she was married raising a child and gainfully employed in a good job! Sometimes you will never know the affect you have had in the way that you deal with your students. Sometimes, like in the example above, you will see the positive results. Our staff does a great job of doing what is important….and that is keeping students our number one priority!