This week, hundreds of High Country students began filling school hallways, most looking forward, on some level, to the new year ahead. After a tumultuous 2020 academic year, students are back in the classroom — masked and socially distanced — no doubt looking forward to more than a bit of the normalcy, good and not-so-good, a school year brings.

But a new school year, normal or otherwise, brings more than new clothes, new haircuts and new backpacks stuffed with newly packaged supplies, it brings a partnership that is vital for any student to succeed.

Once the luster of a shiny new school year begins to dim — routines including instruction, homework and tests take care of that — days are not so exciting. Some days, it must be admitted, will be viewed as a chore — and not only by students.

Learning is tough. Teaching is tough. Administering schools is tough. Busing students to school is tough. Making hot lunches is tough. And keeping schools clean and safe, especially during a global pandemic, that’s really tough.

Which brings us to the partnership. For a new school year to be successful requires that students, teachers, parents and certain members of the community partner in the process through shared expectations.

Teachers have the right to expect that students will treat them with respect, come prepared, pay attention and do their best to stay engaged.

Students have a right to expect that their teachers are similarly prepared, respect them, not judge their potential based on upbringing and create a classroom atmosphere that is timely and welcoming.

Both students and teachers have the right to expect support from parents a safe home, loving discipline, enough sleep and attention to school activities, including homework.

Sometimes such a partnership is not possible — admittedly, some kids get dealt a rotten hand from the onset — and when this happens, a caring community can be an aid. Professionals and loving individuals can often make bridges connect into new partnerships. Not everyone is called to this type of work, but you know who you are.

Education is not only a privilege, it is a birthright for every student. It is incumbent upon professionals and parents to help them achieve and claim their due.

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