April 2017 Column

In loco Parentis is a legal doctrine describing a relationship similar to the one which exists between parent and child. It refers to an individual who assumes parental responsibility for another individual without formally adopting that person (according to an online resource).   This phrase is used often when trying to find the moment when a school takes responsibility of a student for their educational day. Some have gone so far as saying that when a student leaves his or her house and heads toward school, they become the responsibility of the school.
HMS takes that responsibility seriously. However, this responsibility is becoming more encompassing. A recent 21st Century grant acquired by Hobbs Municipal Schools will make it possible for students to be at school from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. four days a week. This nearly 12-hour day will include three meals. The children will be provided with a standard education during the regular school day. Tutoring, exercise and fine arts classes will be offered during the extended day.  Many readers are aware that HMS also provide services to 3 and 4 year olds with certain needs.  This range of services is a far cry from the education offered in the early colonial times where children attended school voluntarily between the ages of five and fifteen.
The additional responsibilities seem to be passed along without the inherit belief that our educators are raising the leaders of the next generation.  In “most” cases teachers are paid for extending their time with children or trainings.  BUT seldom do I drive by a school in Hobbs where I do not see a teacher’s car in the parking lot knowing they are working on lessons or grading papers well beyond their contractual duties. I would hope in my life to see a time when our teachers are rewarded monetarily for the exceptional work they do and the responsibility they accept when they become a classroom teacher.
The Veteto Excellence in Education Foundation has taken a step in recognizing exceptional teachers. The 2016 recipients are the tenth group of awardees to be recognized by Mark Veteto and his family. The Veteto Foundation carefully selects five teachers annually from the Hobbs Municipal Schools through a nomination and rigorous review process. The five recipients receive $5,000 and are honored at a banquet in front of their peers and family. The monetary reward is deeply appreciated bit comments I hear from staff indicates that they are  truly thankful of the formal recognition for their hard work and dedication.
Although I believe teachers need to be compensated for the responsibility they assume when they accept a classroom teaching position, I believe recognizing them publicly and privately is a monumental task.  May 2-6 is Teacher Appreciation Week.  I encourage all community members to recognize the existing staff at HMS and throughout Lea County.  I also urge each person to call or write a former teacher who helped them to be the person they are today.  Educators are givers by nature.  In order for teachers to continue their giving ways, their “bucket” needs to be filled periodically. Our country relies on a well-educated work force to continue to be the greatest country in the world.  The country depends on the leadership and nurturing of its classroom teachers to keep the USA great!
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