Making the Grade

I grew up with parents who were educators. My dad taught and coached for a decade, and my mom has been teaching for more than 40 years. I can still hear the echoes of “You and I need to go to the store, NOT you and me need to go to the store” or “I did well on the exam, NOT I did good on the exam.” Outside of the gentle correcting, there were a lot of perks. For one, we always had the summers together for road trippin’.

It takes a special person to be a teacher. He or she must possess patience and be flexible to the students’ different learning styles, while ensuring that each child is engaged and challenged. There are many teachers out there that go beyond what is required of them and beyond the curriculum and standardized tests. We wanted to find them and pay tribute to them in this issue, so we asked our readers to tell us about their favorite educators. Turn to page 60, A+ Educators, to see our top teachers for 2013 and discover what motivates them.

Because my parents so greatly valued a good education, going to college was always the only option for my brother and me after graduating from high school. Luckily, they were there to help with the process of visiting different college campuses, applying to schools, asking for loans and taking the required tests for admission. It’s a tricky process, so in addition to the school charts we print bi-annually (page 67), we assigned writer Courtney Dabney to provide an online guide on how and when you should start preparing for college. Visit fwtx.com to see her suggestions for setting out on the road to higher education. Dabney suggests preparing early so you don’t wake up in a panic in the middle of your child’s senior year.

However, way before your kiddos begin determining which university they will attend, they must get their basics in elementary school. In addition to picking out a cool lunchbox and pencil pouch, other preparations are made to walk through school doors for the first time. One of which is getting your child vaccinated. We know it’s a touchy topic and not all parents agree that children should be required to get vaccines.

Associate Editor Sonya Cisneros Curry spoke with parents on both sides of the fence for this month’s health feature (see Calling the Shots on page 22). While Texas state law requires students in Texas schools to be immunized against certain vaccine-preventable diseases, the state does allow exemptions from immunizations for reasons of conscience as of Sept. 1, 2003, resulting from the passage of House Bill 2292, Texas Legislature 78 (R).

Whatever your decision is for your child on this subject, ensure that you are educated on all the facts. And next time you are picking the kids up from school, remember to thank the person who is responsible for your child during the majority of the week and is hopefully instilling a lifelong thirst for knowledge.