As we close in on the end of the 2020-21 school year, I have been thinking a lot about the year and the countless ways students made me feel welcome at North Branch Area Public Schools. Getting to know the student body has certainly been the highlight of the school year for me, and I am so appreciative of the eagerness with which they partnered with us to keep schools a safe place to be for all! 

I so enjoyed meeting and working with students at the high school seeking the most meaningful educational experience we can produce. With their help and input we created new offerings at the high school through the redesign process. 

I appreciated speaking with students at the middle school about walking and biking to school and, with their experience in mind, we offered “Hike it!, Bike it!, I like it” for middle and elementary students this spring!

I smile everyday as our youngest students greet me as “Super Paul,” and continually inspire me with their joyful approach to each day.

Much like a voyage on a Viking ship, this school year required all of us to be flexible and nimble. When asked for their partnership, students enthusiastically found ways to help! Like the crew of a longship, they were able to change direction quickly and efficiently, and carry us over obstacles. They helped maintain a light draft allowing us to navigate even in rocky waters.

I was struck often this school year by the Phil Collins lyric, “In learning you will teach, in teaching you will learn.” I can hardly think of a better way to describe the partnership I felt with students this year as we strived together to keep our longship pointed in the right direction and underway!

Thank you students for making me feel so welcome here, and for crewing our longship with such passion and focus! My maiden voyage as Superintendent could not have been more successful or rewarding!

SARA PAUL is superintendent of North Branch Area Public Schools. She can be reached at 651-674-1000 or spaul@isd138.org.

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