Back in the 1950s and 1960s, before "mission statements" became popular, there was something much more powerful which I believe helped to explain the quality education I received in grade school, high school and college.
That something, which I received from my parents, teachers and coaches, was called an "expectation," and it was centered on three principles.
The first expectation was academic achievement. Everyone was expected to do their homework on time, put in a serious study effort and prepare ahead of time to take a test.
The grades you received on homework and tests was the grade that ended up on your report card. The kids with the top grades got to sit in the front of the class and were rewarded with academic ribbons at the end of each semester.
Never miss a local story.
The ultimate reward was, of course, moving on to college.
The second expectation was good behavior. If you were disruptive in class or disrespectful to any adult, there was an immediate price to pay. The price was limited only by the imagination of the after-school detention monitor.
One particularly fiendish punishment was a requirement to memorize a page out of a Spanish dictionary. This usually took a couple of hours, and coincidentally did improve our language skills.
One frequent beneficiary of after-school detention in our high school was the comedian, Bill Murray, who was practically fluent in Spanish by the end of his sophomore year.
The third expectation was personal responsibility. You got to school on time. You were punctual to your classes. If you were slacking on homework or "blew" a test, it was your fault.
In closing, I would ask our new superintendent, Diana Greene, parents, students and teachers to reflect on what an important role "expectations" can play in developing a successful student and a successful school system for Manatee County.