January 23, 2020-
The small circle of staff members gathered on the lawn of Peach Springs School, after the students had left for the weekend. We did a postmortem on the day, and the short week. A decision was made, to gather student laptops, and wipe them clean of inappropriate websites. When the students do get to use the devices again, they will be free of the sites that only reinforce the baser instincts that hobble so many youth. There will be a more concerted effort to monitor these sites. This is something that is de rigeur to me, in over twenty-seven years of dealing with youth and technology. For others, not familiar with the technological prowess of youth, it is easy to lapse into a LaLa Land of denial. That denial could have proven deadly.
My time at Peach Springs ended, for now,with today’s lessons. I am always welcome back there, but leave knowing that the person taking over the second grade class knows them well, and has a good command of elementary education. My work there, for the time being, is done. I will maintain contact with the staff and students with whom I have bonded, much as contact with lifelong friends elsewhere has been maintained. Much more will be said, over the coming months, about underachieving communities. The bottom line for Peach Springs and places like it, is that the community must recognize that their only hope comes from realizing that they, the people, are just as worthy and capable as anyone in this nation, or on this planet. I will never stop encouraging others, whether up close or from a distance.
I have obligations, both here in Prescott, and by way of keeping vigilant, with a situation involving a dear friend of many years. The days and months ahead will not lack for activity, involvement in community life or efforts at building.
As for Peach Springs School, over the coming months, may the parents and community start to clear away the dust from their collective ennui, and rebuild what can be a powerful, achieving community. Then will the little circle of gold, that is the staff of that school, begin to be seen for who they are, and the children will be able to focus on what matters in their lives.