Advocate Editorial Board opinion: New school year means fresh start, changes

This past week, it was back to school for 14,000-plus students in the Victoria Independent School District. The coordination of transporting, feeding and educating those students is an immense job. Superintendent Robert Jaklich calls it a "labor of love." Anyone else might call it a nightmare. We are in awe of how it all comes together, and with time and experience, the chaos transforms into an orderly routine.

For parents of kids starting at a new school, it's scary seeing them walk off on that first day. We would like to stay with them, reminding them of their p's and q's, helping them learn the ropes and protecting them from any harm. But letting go is an integral part of life and learning - for the parents and the child. After witnessing the direction Jaklich is taking this district, we feel confident that your children are in safe and capable hands.

We empathize with the mother of the special needs boy who was transferred to the wrong bus on the first day of school. That is a nightmare for any parent. But we were also impressed with VISD's response. The district handled the situation in a professional, responsible manner, from recognizing the mistake and getting him to the correct campus as soon as possible to the end of the school day, when Jaklich spoke with the boy's mother personally. We applaud the district for taking full responsibility and correcting this incident. By admitting the mistake and facing it head-on instead of trying to bury it, the district is working hard to earn the trust of parents.

In other instances, we've seen examples firsthand in which parents jump to conclusions without allowing VISD to investigate and resolve the issue. Patience and tolerance will move us forward more quickly than pointing fingers. As a community, we need to come together to support and trust our educators. Take time to talk with a teacher or principal, voice concerns in a respectful manner and have some patience knowing educators have the best interests of our children in mind.

In addition to the usual chaos of the first week of school, we have to remember that there have been an immense number of changes in VISD since Jaklich took the position only last summer. There have been substantial changes in structure and personnel. With change comes new opportunity, but it can also bring concern and chaos. We trust that the new leadership in VISD is taking the district in the right direction - but it's a huge ship that takes time to turn.

This first week of school may have been chaotic, with many new students, new staff and substantial changes that have unfolded in Jaklich's year on board with VISD. But from all signs, VISD is doing the best job it can to address problems as they arise. We applaud the hard work of the superintendent, administrators, teachers and staff of VISD to take this school district to the next level. We are banking on high marks from the Texas Education Agency in 2014 - our future depends on it.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.