Lower School Friday Focus

March 18, 2015

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Upcoming Events

Friday, March 18 - Puttin' on the Dawg

Monday, March 21 - Fourth Grade Parent Meeting about Middle School

Tuesday, March 22 - Fifth Grade Parent Meeting about Middle School

Wednesday, March 23 - Fifth Grade Teacher Meeting in Middle School Conference Room @ 3:15

Thursday, March 24 - Easter Parade - The parade will begin at 9 a.m. More details to come!

Friday, March 25 - GOOD FRIDAY - No School

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This Friday Focus has been the toughest one I have had to write, but I have something that has been weighing on me that I feel compelled to share for the benefit of our team.

Part of my job as the principal of the Lower School is to, with help, objectively evaluate "what we do" and determine areas that we may need to improve in order to provide the absolute best educational experience possible for ALL of our students. Sometimes that means celebrating our accomplishments. And sometimes that means adjusting what we do.

Changing the way we do things doesn't mean what we've always done is bad. We have to keep in mind that a student born in 2010 is drastically different than one born in 1990, or even 2000. It saddens me to witness the resistance I sometimes see when new ideas are introduced. Sometimes it has been as simple as a roll of the eyes or a look exchanged with a friend. Other times it has been individuals telling the sharer of the new idea that "we don't do that here" in an effort to block it from being implemented. Other times this resistance has been in the form of an automatic defensive stance about whatever is normally done without even hearing out the other person.

These initial reactions only come from a tiny number of our staff members, but the ripple caused has been weighing on me for some time. I think what bothers me the most is that slowly the creative ideas of others are being squashed, which is impacting the educational experience we provide to our students. Whether this is because individuals feel staying the same is easier, or because someone may be scared to give something new a whirl, or because they feel someone doing something different than you will make you look bad does not matter. I couldn't continue to go without saying that these reactions break my heart.

I have seen many of you trying new things as you explore the use of technology, dig into our Being a Writer program so you can implement with fidelity, and try new approaches to teaching reading, among others. I appreciate the fact that we have SO MANY people willing to adjust their practices to meet the needs of our students. I'm always so excited to hear about the things you have tried, even if they didn't work out as you planned! It is my hope that your desire to grow will continue to send the positive ripples across our staff that I have seen as you are boldly trying new things and sharing what you do! Keep it up!

I am asking each of you to reflect upon your response the next time someone introduces something new or different than "what we always have done." Know that every comment made or look exchanged (whether it is in front of a person or behind their back) is chiseling away at the trust we have for one another and preventing us from truly growing as a team. It is important to me that each member of our staff be committed to continuous improvement and that we have a workplace full of respect even among our differences. Our students, families and each of YOU deserve it.

Thank you for taking time to read these thoughts, and I would love to hear yours if you are willing to share.