Upon my arrival in the Duneland School Corporation almost 25 years ago I
heard the term “The Duneland Difference” for the first time. I have spent
the last 25 years trying to figure out exactly what “The Duneland
I applied the test of what characteristics a good school has and realized
Duneland met all of the criteria. The schools have high expectations for
every student no matter what their level of study. We offer a rigorous
curriculum that is fair in its assessments. We have sufficient resources to
help all students achieve, although this is currently an area of challenge
as funding from the state continues to dwindle.
All of our schools offer a healthy, safe and supportive learning
environment. Our schools and classrooms are equipped for teaching and
learning. We have an excellent cadre of qualified teachers and instructional
assistants in every classroom. Our leadership from the Board down is strong
and supportive. The support from our parents and community is exemplary.
All of these characteristics and outstanding people make Duneland a great
place, but many schools have these characteristics so what makes this
“Duneland Difference?” It became clear to me when one of our media
secretaries relayed a poignant story to me from her building.
She witnessed a student shuffle in one morning with a weight heavier than
the backpack on his shoulders. From what she knew of him he endured a lion’s
share of challenges at school and home. One of his instructional aides who
had been working with him for some time turned as he approached. When she
smiled at him it was like watching the sun rise and his response to her was
like witnessing a flower bloom. The media secretary had these words echoing
in her head, “And that’s where teaching and learning begins!”
The light bulb
went on and at that moment she got it and subsequently so do I! That is the
“Duneland Difference!” It’s the people who create that warm and safe
environment where teaching and learning come together. I am honored to be
even a small part of the difference!