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Welcome to our next episode of Provo City School District’s What’s Up With the Sup podcast. I am Superintendent Wendy Dau, and I am very excited for our podcast this week. We are talking to elementary school kids about what they are grateful for at school, and their answers are sure to brighten your day.
But first, our updates.
- This week marked the beginning of American Indian Heritage Month, which is celebrated all through the month of November.
- The school year calendar priority survey for the 2025 2026 school year is coming to an end. Please check your email for the link to complete the survey. This survey provides parents, students, and employees the opportunity to let the district know which details of a school calendar are most important to them. The survey will be closing at midnight this coming Sunday. November 5th. The results of the survey will be shared with the public and used to construct two options for the 2025 2026 school year calendar to be voted on by the public, students, and employees.
- November is also National Gratitude Month, so this is why all of our podcasts for this month, or several of them anyway, are going to be focusing on what we are grateful for.
- Prepare to spread holiday cheer with Timpview High School’s Sub for Santa program. Starting after Thanksgiving break, November 27th, 2023, and continuing through winter break until January 3rd, 2024 Timpview is teaming up with United Way and the Food and Care Coalition to support families in our district. Whether you want to donate new gifts, contribute cash, or find more ways to join in, visit timpviewsubforsanta.weebly.com and make this season extra special for those in need.
- A reminder that the contest for students to design a Find Your Swing pin is officially here. Students can submit their best artwork representing the Find Your Swing theme from the “Boys in the Boat” book for a chance to have their design become the pin. Artwork can be turned into their school’s main office by Wednesday, December 13, 2023, and the winner will receive a $100 gift card from the superintendent.
- The next school board meeting will be a study session and business meeting on Tuesday, November 14th. Study sessions are held in Boardroom 1 at the District Office and business meetings take place in the Professional Development Center, also at the District Office. Both meetings are open to the public and public comment is welcomed at the business meeting. Please check our website for the start times for both meetings.
- Look for the weekly video cast from me every Friday in this short video. I provide important information and updates about work happening throughout the district.
- And don’t forget that this weekend is the end of daylight savings time. So we hope you all enjoy that extra hour of sleep.
And now for this week’s podcast. This month’s theme is gratitude. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this is a great time of year to reflect on what we are grateful for. For this podcast, I spent some time in elementary schools asking students what they were grateful for.
Their answers reminded me of my own gratitude for teachers, librarians, school friends, and of course recess. But most of all, it reminded me of how grateful I am for that fundamental right we all share to receive a public education. The richness and breadth of a public education is remarkable. From advanced classes where students receive college credits, to the many programs supporting sports, language learning, fine arts, career and technical education.
Students are free to become who they want to be. Not to mention all of the fun activities that are happening at elementary schools. And as you just watch kids as they learn to read and do math, it’s an incredible experience all around. As educators, we aim to provide our students these diverse opportunities that spark their imaginations.
And guide them towards igniting lifelong passions, encouraging exploration and fostering creativity equips our students with the tools to navigate their unique paths and achieve their full potential. All you have to do is when you’re having a rough day, you walk into an elementary school and just see the energy that is in those classrooms that is created by those teachers.
And there are individuals out there that are actively seeking to disrupt our public education system. And I just want to give a huge shout out to our teachers and our principals and every single last person that makes our schools just these incredible places of learning and what you’re going to hear from our students is just how much they recognize that our schools are also those incredible places of learning.
They love being at school. They love their teachers. They love interacting with one another. They love the senses of humor that their teachers have, and they love just being cared for. They don’t want to miss out. It’s just really exciting to see that energy. And we want to capture that in our podcast, just to celebrate all of the many people that it takes to really educate a child from kindergarten all the way through and, and beyond actually graduation.
Maybe the most crucial skill received through public education is an often forgotten skill, which is socialization. We need our youth to work with each other more than ever before. I think one of the things that we have seen coming out of COVID is how isolated we became. We need to get our students meeting and collaborating with one another because that’s really what their jobs are going to be requiring them to do. It’s a skill you really can’t get anywhere else, at least not like you build through public education and just, just the whole system and how it’s built in terms of that collaboration.
Drawing from my experience as a former social studies teacher, I also firmly believe that public education cultivates and informs citizenry. I think it’s really important to understand that our early founding fathers talked about that. If we were going to have a successful Republic, if we were going to have this successful democratic Republic with people participating in it and having their voices heard, we needed to have an education system to make sure that people could make good decisions about their leaders.
This, I think, is fundamental to our community’s well being. And when you look at our education system, it is unique. It is one of the only educational systems in the world that is governed by a Board of Education that is elected by individuals that represent their constituents. So not only are we recognizing the need for our constituents to be educated, we’re also recognizing the need for those individuals that are making decisions about education to be elected, to represent our citizens and to work collaboratively with our schools, with our leaders, with our superintendents, with every single individual that contributes to this education process.
By nurturing that critical thinking and by encouraging that active participation in our schools, we equip our future generations to be responsible to be engaged members of society vital for a thriving democratic environment. And as a social studies teacher, this is something that is just imperative to me that we have as one of our most fundamental rights.
Education is a right. It’s not just a privilege. It’s something that we need to protect with every fiber of our being. So now let’s listen to these adorable elementary students lead the way in showing gratitude this month of November as they highlight the best parts about their schools.
Wendy: Okay, so I want you to think about for a minute. What are you most grateful for about school? Yeah Who wants to go first? Oh my gosh. I’m so excited
Student: I’m thanking for um, Mr. Scribner to teach us because he’s a really good teacher.
Wendy: That’s awesome. I love it Okay, I’m just gonna go around. Is that okay?
Student: Um the library for sure because it’s one of the only places that I actually feel most safe. And also books.
Wendy: Everything. Okay, you’re grateful for everything. Alright.
Wendy: Recess. Do you like outdoor or indoor recess better?
Wendy: Ooh, you like both? I love it. Okay, here we go. To you. What are you most grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for how Scribner puts like passion into his teaching and does fun stuff and work. And even doing like math and reading, it’s still fun because he makes it more fun. He puts passion into it.
Wendy: That’s incredible. So, so the teacher makes a huge difference. Everything more fun and easier to do and teaches everything. All right, do you guys have something you want to add? All right, I’m ready.
Student: I’m thankful for my friends.
Wendy: Thankful for your friends. What do you love to do most with your friends?
Student: Play kickball.
Wendy: Okay, what about you?
Wendy: You’re thankful for chairs, so that you don’t have to stand up all day. That is a very good thing to be thankful for. Okay, you tell me what you’re thankful for.
Student: I’m thankful for that we get to come to school and learn everything.
Wendy: Aww, did you guys hear that? She’s grateful that she gets to learn. Okay, oh, I’m excited. I can’t wait to hear. More than to hear.
Student: Okay, so I’m grateful for books, I’m grateful for math, and I’m grateful for the bell because it releases us.
Wendy: That is clever. I love it. Okay.
Student: I’m grateful that we can come here and learn and have our friends here.
Wendy: I love it! Okay, you’re next.
Student: Uh, I’m grateful for all my friends, and I’m grateful for math especially, and my teacher, and just, school.
Wendy: I love that you guys are grateful for math. Do you know how awesome that is?
Student: Um, I’m grateful for five things. Um, recess, my teacher, he’s hilarious, um, the bell to release us, library, cause I love reading. And, you know what, I forgot the last thing.
Wendy: Four is okay. It’s okay to have four. Okay, you tell me what you’re grateful for.
Student: I’m grateful for a couple things. I’m grateful for art, I’m grateful for learning other languages, and I’m grateful for our teachers.
Wendy: Oh, that’s awesome. And I see that you’re, you do love art because you’re drawing right here. I can see it. It’s awesome.
Student: I’m grateful for that we actually have a building to go in. We don’t have to be outside all the day.
Wendy: You know, there are kids that go to school across the world that have to go to school outside. Did you know that? One last and then we’re peacing out.
Student: I’m also very thankful for the principal. He puts a lot of work to make sure that we’re not suffering. And I think that it’s inspiring how much passion he puts into that.
Wendy: I would agree with that. He is an incredible principal. Well, it sounds like you guys are super lucky to have Mr. Scribner. All right, okay, you guys enjoy your recess. Thank you so much. Have a great day.
Wendy: Okay, so I’m gonna ask you, so be thinking, What are you most grateful for or thankful for here at school? And if you can’t think of something at school, you can just tell me something else too, but something at school that you’re really grateful for.
Student: I am grateful for my family.
Wendy: Good job.
Student: Because my sister does go to the school.
Wendy: So you get to have your sister here, so that’s one of the things you’re grateful for here at school. I love it. What are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for my teacher.
Wendy: You love your teacher. I love that. That’s awesome. What are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for learning.
Wendy: You’re grateful for learning. I love it. Okay, are you ready?
Student: I’m grateful for my friends.
Wendy: You like coming to school because you get to see all of them every day, huh? Okay, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for this whole entire school.
Wendy: You’re grateful for the whole school. Love it. What are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for my brother.
Wendy: Is your brother also here at this school? What grade is your brother in? Do you know?
Wendy: Good job. All right. What are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for my sister and brother.
Wendy: And they’re also at this school? Excellent. Alright, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for my brother.
Wendy: For your brother. And he goes to this school?
Student: Yes. I’m grateful for my sister.
Wendy: You’re grateful for your sister. Love it. Okay, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for the activities that we do at school.
Wendy: Oh, do you have a favorite one that you can think of?
Student: All of them.
Wendy: Love it! Okay, are you ready? What are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for level learning.
Wendy: Oh, that’s awesome! Love it! Okay, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for the kids at Wasatch.
Wendy: Aw, you guys are so lucky! Sounds like you guys are having a great time at school. Okay, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for my teacher.
Wendy: Aw, I love that! Because we couldn’t learn if we didn’t have great teachers, right? They’re the best! Okay, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for, um, all the people in this school. Yeah.
Wendy: Yes, you’re grateful for everyone in the school. I love it. Okay, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for my brother and my mom.
Wendy: Oh, so your mom works at the school. That’s awesome. And your mom works at the school too? Oh my goodness! Okay, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for God, and I’m grateful for art at our school.
Wendy: Alright. What are you grateful for?
Student: Every teacher in this school that teaches.
Wendy: Oh, you’re grateful for every teacher in the school. That’s awesome. What are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful that on my birthday when it was on Monday, that they celebrate.
Wendy: You guys get to celebrate your birthdays at school. That’s awesome! What are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for that I can learn three languages.
Wendy: That you can learn three languages. That’s awesome! Okay, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for learning new things.
Wendy: Oh, that’s amazing! Okay, what are you grateful for?
Student: I’m grateful for life.
Wendy: It is important, right? Alright, did everybody get a turn? Yes! Thanks you guys! Thank you so much!
Student: I like recess, and I also like, um, my friends.
Wendy: Recess and friends. That’s pretty great. Okay. You get to make new friends. You get to make new friends. Okay.
Student: I’m most thankful for, for having specialties and having friends at my school.
Wendy: That’s awesome. Do you have a favorite speciality?
Wendy: Art. You have a great art teacher here.
Student: I’m grateful for teachers and the workers that keep our school, like, um, clean and stuff.
Wendy: That’s great. That’s awesome.
Student: I’m most thankful for, uh, my friends being here and for, uh, the school to be clean.
Wendy: Good. Awesome. Okay, here we go.
Student: Um, I am, uh, thankful for, um, recess. And friends. I’m thankful for the teachers because they’re not strict.
Wendy: Okay, are you ready?
Student: Uh, I’m grateful for friends and recess.
Wendy: Friends and recess. Okay, what are you, okay…
Student: I’m thankful for friends and maybe the school lunches.
Wendy: Ooh, school lunch. Love it. Okay, what are you thankful for?
Student: I’m thankful for friends and recess.
Wendy: Friends and recess. Tends to be a popular answer. Okay. Alright, what are you thankful for?
Student: Friends and recess.
Wendy: Friends and recess.
Student: I’m thankful for, um, my friends and this whole school.
Wendy: Alright, what are you thankful for?
Student: I’m thankful for the materials to be able to learn.
Wendy: You’re thankful for the materials to be able to learn. I love it. Okay, what are you thankful for?
Student: I’m thankful for, for, for my friends and recess and for DLI.
Wendy: And you love DLI. And you’re learning Portuguese, correct? Awesome. Hey, what are you thankful for?
Student: I’m grateful for art and for being able to learn a second language.
Wendy: Excellent. Cause you are so lucky you get to learn a second language. It’s amazing. Okay, tell me what you’re thankful for.
Student: I’m thankful for recess, friends, and learning.
Wendy: Good. I love it. Okay, what are you thankful for?
Student: Uh, what’s up? Um, I’m thankful for the teachers and the students.
Wendy: Great. Do you have a favorite teacher of all time?
Student: Mr. Lukens.
Wendy: Mr. Lukens. All right. Good shout out to your teacher. Okay, tell me what you are most thankful for.
Student: I’m thankful for, um, all the teachers that, um, help the school be safe and, um, to be with friends and, yeah.
I love hearing from our students. When I went to visit these kids at these schools, I was in the middle of a difficult day and I wasn’t in the best of moods. I even said to my communications team, I don’t know if I can do this today. Like, this is going to be hard for me. But after just talking with a few of the students, my perspective completely changed. These kids are incredible. The enthusiasm that they have for school, for their friends, for their teachers, for librarians, for principals, their passion for school lunch. And of course, recess, they talk about how clean their schools are and how great they are, that they’re clean. It’s just contagious to see that kind of gratitude expressed by such young people.
So as we enter this season where we often reflect on what we are thankful for, I hope you’ll take a moment to join me in recognizing and thanking all of the individuals that make our schools a wonderful place for our children to learn.
I also want to share with you a piece of positive psychology that is out there. It talks about that if you spend just two minutes of every day reflecting on something that you’re grateful for, something positive that has happened, that you’re appreciative of, that has shaped that day for you, and you end every day with that, it will completely start to change your perspective.
You will notice a considerable difference in your attitude about your day. And then as you do that over the course of a week, it changes your perspective on that entire week. And as those weeks turn into several weeks. Do that for the month of November. I would just love to challenge you to do that.
You’re just going to have a completely different perspective on what’s happening in your life. I’ve started, and I’ve challenged our teams to have gratitude journals where they just write – and maybe writing isn’t your thing. So maybe just reflecting on it as you’re driving home, whatever that is, if you can take just two minutes and think about that.
I would bet that at the end of November, if I asked you to reach out, if it had changed your perspective on things. I would love to see this kind of attitude, just kind of grip Provo city in general, as we exhibit that attitude as an entire community. So thank you for joining me for this episode of What’s up with the Sup.
As always, all episodes will be posted on YouTube, the district website, and anywhere you get your podcasts. If you have any topics or questions you would like us to discuss on the podcast, please email us at email@example.com.
Next week, we will have a very special Veterans Day episode of the podcast. I will be joined by Michael Bradley, a world language and social studies teacher at Provo High School. Mr. Bradley is also a United States Army veteran, and we will be talking about his service to our nation. You won’t want to miss it. Have a great week, everyone. Until next time.