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When a Company Takes Leadership Seriously

As we begin 2013 with hope, it’s ok to admit that the end of 2012 left the country, especially the Northeast, shaken.  The destruction of Sandy and the horror of Newtown, left a wake of uncertainty, a feeling of powerlessness, and a craving for leadership.

Sometimes, it’s individual heroes that emerge and other times it’s the leaders in the boardrooms who make the right decisions and offer the right direction to help us where they can.  
In response to these two separate tragedies, Scholastic stepped up.
Sandy Relief
Thanks to Scholastic, one million new books are being donated and delivered to affected schools who were in Sandy’s path.  Although books are desperately needed in these communities, it is boilers, sheetrock, and basic equipment that need to be purchased first.  Dazed and strained, schools still need to do their job every day.  Education has to continue… but how do you encourage children to be lifelong readers and achievers if there aren’t enough books?  Who is going to replace them when every dollar is already spoken for?  Enter Scholastic.  Books are on their way to these communities.  Sounds simple but as anyone knows who has worked on any type of relief effort, it’s hard work to get to the point where trucks can be loaded up.
Unthinkable Connecticut Tragedy
How will we ever get our arms around what happened in Newtown?  Scholastic reacted quickly.  As a trusted source for teachers, Scholastic provided a steady hand and solid advice to teachers who had to walk back into their own schools to try to explain the inexplicable and to provide comfort to children and peers.  
President and CEO Dick Robinson’s letter to teachers about Newtown is worth a read.  It’s insightful and strikes me as a message of respect for their dedication and courage. 

Our hearts go out to the 20 families who lost their dear first-grade children. We mourn for the six adults — teachers, principal, and school psychologist — who gave their lives to protect their students at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our shared grief is not enough, however, to honor their sacrifice. We ask our political leaders to take action against the presence of assault weapons so we can take at least one step toward ensuring a society where children and teachers are free to learn without concern of deadly attacks.  We also must work to mitigate the gun violence that affects some urban children on their way to school every single day. We count on teachers and public servants to shoulder the responsibility for our children’s safety, but we do not give them the support they need. Our society needs to increase the availability of school health resources, and to pass laws that will protect schools and children against gun violence.  

If you’re a teacher or know one, you may also appreciate Scholastic’s fantastic advice and resources, which I think would be helpful for any tragedy affecting the minds and hearts of school-aged children and everyone who works in schools.
The longer I live, the more I appreciate the value of leadership.  It comes in all forms and this time it came from a company who believes it has a responsibility to their customers because they’re not just any customer.  They are the men and women who are leading our children in the classroom.