“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.” Vesta M. Kelly
As a thin blanket of snow insulates the ground, my thoughts turn toward a family-favorite seasonal tradition. Setting up the remote-controlled Lionel “G Gauge” Polar Express train brings both excitement and hours of entertainment for the young and young-at-heart. Activating the remote’s buttons sets the train in motion and it begins to laboriously move forward. One can hear Tom Hanks’ voice bellowing, “All aboard! This… is… the… Polar… Express!” Pondering over this family tradition leads me to make a connection between trains, our MAASE family, and special education leadership.
Special education administrators can be likened to steam locomotives. They are at the front of the train forging their way along the tracks, powered by a vision and mission. At times, leading that visionary change can be as lonesome as a train whistle piercing through the night. It may seem as though it is a long climb up a steep mountainside and few are on board with you. The bigger the initiative, the more effort it takes to get the train moving and the more passengers there are on board (children and their families) that you are responsible for. During these times you realize you will need to enlist other engines to partner with. Perhaps the connecting engines are within your organization. Others belong to the MAASE family or outside agencies. One thing is clear; all are teaming toward a child and student-focused goal.
Although partnerships can take a much-concerted effort, there is nothing like the feeling when that train reaches the summit, crests the mountain, rapidly gains momentum, and delivers the children and students to their developmental, academic, and/or behavioral destination with success.
During this time of year, may you find yourself gaining momentum, achieving student successes, and continuing to pursue this year’s MAASE challenge of partnering together for the