Beyond the classroom

Published 11:25 am Thursday, September 7, 2017

Invitational Education has been practiced in Jessamine County Schools since the late 1990s.

During Superintendent Linda France’s tenure, our district was introduced to the theory of Invitational Education when Dr. William Purkey, co-founder of the International Alliance for Invitational Education, was the keynote speaker on opening day for teachers.

During this time, schools began to embrace the need to create a positive learning climate that extended beyond the classroom walls, into homes, and further into the community.

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As principal of Nicholasville Elementary at the time, I was keenly aware of the need to reach all students, regardless of race, socioeconomic factors, and impoverished home environments. I knew that if basic needs were not met, children would not learn.

Fast forward 20 years, I doubt anyone could have predicted the state of our communities and world.

Administrators would never believe that students would intentionally harm one another, or that schools would need safety officers on a daily basis. Yet, just those things have occurred.

However, Jessamine County Schools knew back then that the needs of the whole child, their family, and our community mattered and that those needs must be addressed.

The practice of Invitational Education continues to provide the opportunity for our staff to not only meet those needs, but to intentionally teach our children the value of diversity, both here and abroad.

Now, more than ever, those lessons provide the scaffolding for acceptance and peace rather than division and hate. Literally, from board members to the bus garage, every day the staff extends themselves into the lives of children in ways that are life changing.

If indeed, “what the world needs now, is love”,  I am quite sure that the platform is Invitational Education.

Kathy Fields, former superintendent Jessamine County Public Schools