Opinion Maker for The Herald-Palladium

In 1984, John Goodlad wrote a book about American education titled “A Place Called School.” I always loved that title, because that place called school is where I’ve spent much of my life, and it’s always been a place where I seem to fit in and feel like I’m giving my best. Just recently, I had the opportunity to return to work in school again as a middle/senior high school building principal for the rest of this school year. Like everything everywhere else, school is a very different place right now, and I thought I’d share my own observations in this space.

The Kids Are Alright. That’s the title of a song by The Who, from back in 1965 (they spelled “all right” that way, too). Despite being pulled out of school as they’ve always known it and forced to stay home, then allowed to come back, then sent home again, tested for COVID often, and wearing masks all day except for lunchtime, the students I’ve observed do amazingly well. They are resilient, and I truly believe if there’s one tiny silver lining in these tough times, going through all of this will make them stronger adults.

John Jarpe is a retired educator and lives in Bertrand Township, near Niles. He taught and coached in Detroit, at Lake Michigan Catholic, and at Brandywine. He was a principal and special education director in St. Joseph and retired as superintendent of Brandywine in 2017. Email: jarpejohn@gmail.com