From the Editor: The road taken

We stepped outside the church in Vancouver, Washington, where videographer Connor Toomy and I had been interviewing two parishioners and longtime public school volunteers. The women named the mountain peaks visible from the city, but the weather had been so overcast during our visit that we couldn’t see anything in the distance.

Once outside, we still couldn’t see the mountains. But a glorious rainbow broke out through the clouds. It was a hopeful sign as we got into our rental car and drove toward the Columbia River and the Portland airport.

Traveling is one of the great joys of my job—the opportunity to visit school districts in di erent parts of the country, to speak with educators and school leaders, and to witness how their work is transforming student lives for the better.

The rainbow wasn’t the only hopeful sign in Vancouver. Seeing the district’s community schools’ work in action was heartening, to say the least.

We want you to have the same experience with our feature package in this issue, “No Ordinary Day.” Two editors, Del Stover and Michelle Healy, and I traveled with Connor to bring you the stories of six school districts. We wanted to show how these districts—Vancouver Public Schools, Houston Independent School District, Topeka Public Schools, Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools, City Schools of Decatur, and Upper St. Clair School District—do extraordinary work every day.

To bring you along on our road trip, we’ve created additional content by way of videos, infographics, and slideshows. Hear the Vancouver parents who’ve been helped by the district’s food pantries. See the magic created by a special education program in Upper St. Clair. Hear Topeka’s superintendent speak about her students. Watch Houston classroom teachers as they focus on student literacy. These multimedia o erings and more are available on

The district programs featured in “No Ordinary Day” are examples of the hard work and innovation happening in our public schools all over the country.

We’d like to hear your stories, too. Go to to let us know the extraordinary work you are doing in your districts. Until our next issue…

Kathleen Vail, Editor-in-Chief

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