My name is Ryan Howatt. I am the proud principal of Rio Rosales Elementary. It is a pleasure to welcome you, or welcome you back to Rio Rosales. At Rio Rosales we believe that the world needs happy literate empathetic people that can solve problems together. This belief shapes the way we teach the heads, hands, and hearts of our future generations.
We all know that the world needs positivity and preparedness more than ever this year. We also have proven that the Rio Rosales community can overcome almost any obstacle that comes our way. This coming year the obstacles may not be as visible, but make no mistake, the effects of the COVID pandemic will echo for years to come.
As we plan for a normal return to campus, we must also plan for the needs of our community. With the shortened time last year, we need to maximize the learning this year. With the damage done to our community and to our world, we need to make sure our children are cared for and supported. With the separation of parents from our campus, we need to work to make sure this campus is a place that involves you in events that celebrate our children as well as decisions that affect how our school runs.
After spending five of the most rewarding years of my career at Rosales, I have come to understand some of the profound strengths we have here. We are kind. We are empathetic. We teach and learn at very high levels. We enjoy each others’ company. I often hear and use the word “friends” here, and I believe it. As one who deeply cares for this community I also feel compelled to encourage you to find time to participate in some of the activities related to community involvement and school governance. While these meetings are not always celebratory or filled with humor and talent, they are absolutely essential to the way we run our school. Our School Site Council, English Learners Advisory Committee, and Parent Teacher Association (just to name a few) are organizations that have a direct impact on the choices and chances your children have. There were meetings last year where we did not have enough participation to make some of these important decisions.
Many of us believe that schools are the most important and basic elements in our democracy. Schools teach us how to read, write, and do math, but they also teach us that we all need to share our opinions and vote if we want the school to reflect who we are and what we strive for. I encourage you to attend a meeting this year for one of these important groups. I urge you to consider running for School Site Council or our English Learners Advisory Committee. I encourage you to attend a Rio School District meeting to see how different schools approach and solve different issues.
I have said before that this community does a great job showing up for the fun stuff and needs to show up more for the tough stuff. While the Student of the Month ceremonies and Lunch on the Lawn events bring us closer, my goal for us all next year is that we think and plan as good-willed collaborators to bring the highest levels of achievement to this deserving community.
Ryan Howatt, M.Ed.