@SuperSonoma ~ Socorro Shiels

Socorro Shiels Socorro Shiels is the superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District.


Dude, be nice

Posted on April 25, 2019 by Socorro Shiels

‘In many instances it is our young people setting the model for adults.’

I don’t normally wear t-shirts with writing on them. Something about feeling a bit too old to pull it off. I do enjoy wearing t-shirts that represent all our schools though. Recently we had the pleasure of experiencing our first full-district partnership with the Sonoma Valley Community Health Clinic on a community-wide event. Altimira hosted the Community Health Fair on April 13, and for the occasion, I donned an Altimira t-shirt (appropriate, since the event was held there) saying “Dude, Be Nice”.  I have never received so many compliments on a t-shirt. It was a hit!

It’s a simple statement (“Dude, Be Nice”), and yet most adults said something to the effect of what a difference that would make. I think about the impact of social media in our schools and community. If we were all nicer it could make such a noticeable difference. Ideally nice extends beyond superficial platitudes and really starts to venture into empathy and kindness. If we could really meet people where they are with an open heart and move forward with them, I imagine every day would feel better for each and every one of us.

There was another issue on social media recently, not a positive one. This is something becoming far too common in our world and sadly right here in our Valley. Whether the issue is students being nice to peers or their peers being nice to them, we need to be focused on the well-being of all of us for the betterment of the community as a whole. It takes more than some snazzy t-shirt slogan, yet every bit helps in creating an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance for all of us in our small part of the globe.  

We also had Bee Kind Week at the high school. It was another universal reminder that what we do matters and the models we set for students as they grow has lasting effects. In fact, in many instances in our schools it is our young people setting the model of behavior for adults as they engage in critical discourse and difficult conversations with grace and wisdom. 

You might not have students at our schools anymore. You might have never had students here. Likewise, you might have students at several of our schools at the same time and for many years into the foreseeable future. Either way, you likely see our brilliant and strong young people in the store or on the street. You might see them at a restaurant or playing on the soccer fields. The youth of our Valley are our asset and our future. Every smile you share and act of kindness you model is an investment in what we want this community to be today and tomorrow.

Please join the hard-working SVUSD staff and dedicated SVUSD families in making a difference in the lives of our students each and every day. And… dude, be nice. 

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