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Panther Pause: Creating community within SCC

Chance Langeness

If I were to envision the ideal school community, one where learning and character education are at the forefront of everything happening within the school walls, I would expect to see certain shared qualities of all those working in that district. Through every interaction with students, colleagues, parents, and other community members, I would see staff who are empathic, who clearly communicate, who are present and engaged, and who look to serve others. Above all, purposeful relationship building would be priority number one.

When I first started teaching at St. Croix Central in 2010, I could tell from day one that something special was happening here. Staff were empathic. They were engaged and truly cared about their students. They went out of their way to help others. And now, seven years later, I believe the people we have working in our classrooms, our hallways, our playgrounds, our cafeterias, our buses - all have continued to improve on that culture. Are we perfect? No, but like the saying goes, no one is. What our district is, though, is a place where all staff strive every single day to make SCC better than it was the day before. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of the Panther community.

Our empathic staff carefully listen, do not rush to judgment, and consider what is best for students before moving forward with a decision. Yes, students are held accountable for their learning and their actions, but in a way that is always caring and respectful. Leaning on past experiences helps guide our decision-making as we learn from our mistakes and build on our successes.

Strong communication amongst staff, students, and parents helps ensure that educational opportunities aren't being missed for any student. This is a priority as we push to be an exemplary district and community. Expectations are consistently delivered by teachers and staff members. An honest and open dialogue allows all district stakeholders to lay the groundwork for a healthy and prosperous school.

In any given day, I see adults that are present and engaged with students as well as one another. Teachers foster positive relationships that demonstrate to students that they are there for them, no matter what. These genuine interactions and conversations shape and mold how our students feel about themselves and the education they are receiving.

Serving others is truly what makes the staff of SCC top notch. You will find in every building and in every position across the district, people who are committed to serving others. Modeling this for our students provides them with concrete examples of hard work and how it leads to a shared success for all.

As you walk the halls of any of the district's schools, you will see staff demonstrating these key qualities. Bus drivers who are empathic. Counselors who are clearly communicating. Paraprofessionals who are present and engaged. Teachers who are serving others. The students of St. Croix Central deserve nothing less.