Community Pulse: New school year brings new opportunities

A new school year is always an exciting time, and that feels especially true this year. As we return to normal in most aspects of school operations, Morris Community High School had a great start to the 2022-23 school year. Even the weather cooperated!

We have all heard about students’ learning loss, social-emotional issues and other challenges for the past two years. The good news is that most schools have never had more resources available than they do today. Guidance counselors, social workers, school resource officers, interventionists, office workers and paraprofessionals are among the many people who are available to help our students with any questions or problems.

At MCHS, we are lucky to not only be fully staffed amid an extremely challenging labor market, but we have added and expanded eight positions over the past two years. It is our intent to maintain these positions permanently, not just as a short-term consequence of federal grant dollars.

If you have family members enrolled in school, please encourage them to take advantage of the many resources available. Their most important resources are their teachers. However, students are often reluctant to ask for help until it is too late. Now is the time, early in the school year, for students to stay after school for extra help, to find help during their study hall or lunch period, and to ask questions during class. The first month of school absolutely sets the tone for the entire year, so it is critical that students work hard now to maintain good grades and excellent attendance.

Now also is the best time for students to get involved in activities. MCHS offers something for everyone, whether students’ interests include art, music, sports, academics, student leadership or several other activities. Joining a club or activity is a great way for students to meet new people and to bring out the best in themselves. Our students’ involvement has always been very strong compared to other high schools.

One of the biggest compliments we get from other schools is not only how involved our students are, but also how respectful they are. These compliments come from bus drivers, restaurant servers, and administrators and coaches in other districts. We hear it all the time. And given how angry so many people are these days, it is encouraging to see the maturity demonstrated by so many young people who will be our next group of leaders.

The involvements I described above can go a long way in keeping students positively engaged, and to help them be attentive to warning signs they may see in other students. We often hear about these red flags only after a tragedy occurs, but we can no longer accept that as normal. We must proactively look out for one another so that schools can continue to be among the safest places for our kids.

Please do not hesitate to contact the appropriate teacher, coach, administrator, or other MCHS staff member any time you have questions or concerns. Your positive involvement is necessary for us to improve. Best wishes to your students for an outstanding school year!