May 26 – the end is in sight. Surely you remember counting the days until the last day of school. We mastered that lesson early in our studies. As a child, did you realize that parents, and most certainly teachers, administrators and school staff, were also placing Xs on the calendar as summer approached?

Believe it or not, the end of a school year is more eagerly anticipated in this generation of students. The stress of springtime’s high stakes TAKS testing affects us all, whether you are students needing to pass to ensure promotion to the next grade, or teachers wanting to know students’ progress on state-mandated objectives, or empty nesters inquiring about your neighborhood schools’ rankings. However, remember that the value of a well-rounded education cannot solely be measured by testing.

Year-end anxiety rears its head in all facets of the school community. Check the blood pressure of your school board trustees as they tackle legislative issues of school finance and local control (the legislature should not dictate when RISD starts school and holds elections). Look into the eyes of parents who are attending Kindergarten Roundup with their firstborn. Measure the butterflies of those trying out for cheerleader, CenterStage!, Espree, Highlandettes and Wranglers.

Fortunately, springtime is also the season to celebrate achievements. I have seen many of you at a variety of recent events ranging from Beta Club inductions to “A” Team breakfasts to scholarship announcements. We will soon honor teachers of the year, recognize retiring staff, and thank outgoing PTA officers. The list of celebrations is never-ending, and rightfully so.

The pinnacle of our recognitions is graduation. The kindergarteners proudly march toward first grade and the sixth-graders relish their final moment as the top dogs before heading to junior high. The event is May 21 – high school graduation at Moody Coliseum. This will be my sixth year to award diplomas and it remains my favorite day of the year. Everyone is happy at graduation (except younger siblings) and each student is in the spotlight. These graduates face varied futures, from college to military to the workforce. Regardless of their next step, the Class of 2005 is well prepared. We will be watching them with pride.

Thank you for your continued support of RISD. The journey continues in August as we open our kindergarten doors to the Class of 2018.

Have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable summer vacation.