Did you have a good opening last week? For me, this was always one of the high points of my year. The twelve month staff worked hard to have everything ready. Teachers return, reconnecting with colleagues and preparing for their students. Goals for the year are shared and social activities are held. And then the school buses arrive with excited kids ready to enter first, seventh or tenth grade for the only time in their lives. They find their friends after a summer away and recommit to being the best students they can be. It's truly an inspiring time.
What is it that kids seek as they return each September? First, they want to be safe and not have to worry that they will become a bully's target. Secondly, they want to belong - everyone wants to belong. Thirdly, they want to accomplish things, to be really good at something and to be recognized for it.
Good schools are consciously engineered to help everyone meet these needs. Those which have constructed safe and supportive cultures provide students with a sense of well-being as well as a solid foundation upon which future success depends. Kids nurtured in such places are more likely to be curious, willing to take risks, love learning, show determination and demonstrate resilience.
Such environments tend to be filled with educators who love kids and want young people to enjoy their childhoods while preparing them for their future. These school adults also agree about what is important. They know that, while all pupils need to acquire knowledge and develop skills, healthy dispositions and attitudes matter as well. And they are good role models since they recognize that their behavior is always on display and teaches much more than what they say.
If you have children who are special to you, you want them to go to such a school. And, what we want for them, we should also wish for all of the community's children.