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In the education business, there are always problems that need to be addressed. Typically, over the last few years, those problems have involved things such as measuring the distance between students to see who must quarantine, repairing facilities and getting students back in school in the wake of a biblical strength hurricane, and determining how best to return to “normal” school and successfully intervene for kids who now need more help than ever before.

The 2022-2023 school year saw us begin to inch away from those problems. We weren’t involuntarily isolating students left and right. Hurricane season was mercifully quiet. And we started building systems and structures to help kids learn the skills they will need to get back to where they need to be.

Faculty and staff who work with me for any length of time soon learn some of my favorite catch phrases, sayings, one-liners, etc. One of my preferred sayings has to do with this sort of thing, namely the types of problems that we face on a daily basis. “We need to find some better problems to deal with!" is how I've always put it.

Each year, the Tangipahoa Parish School System welcomes close to 20,000 students from Manchac (almost) all the way to McComb. They enter through the doors on more than 30 campuses. Annually, a theme is announced as well. Frankly, I think that the 2023-2024 school year’s theme could not be more appropriate.

“Elevate our Impact.”

I didn’t realize it, but in many respects, this theme represents a better phrasing of my saying about the problems that we deal with.

For instance, the problem is no longer who stays home and who doesn’t. Now the problem is how teachers can best structure their classroom environments and their curriculum to maximize student engagement and time on task.

Similarly, the problem is no longer finding the right resources to come back to school after a storm, but instead, we’re finding ways to support students’ physical, social, and emotional needs regardless of their outside circumstances.

Finally, the problem is no longer one where we are only focusing on what students have missed in the past. Sure, we’re still going to provide support as needed, but it’s not in the past where our faculty, families, and staff will have the greatest impact on students. It’s in the future, and believe me, that future is VERY, VERY bright!

Welcome to Martha Vinyard Elementary School, 2023-2024 edition. Let’s elevate our impact and make this school year a truly awesome one!

--Dr. Jason Lenz, Principal