Thursday, September 1, 2016

Relationships; Magical Moments in Learning

The week prior to our official start of school on August 29, the Carroll family spent a great deal of time learning about ourselves - our character strengths, the pillars of our personalities, and our foundational and perceived weaknesses. We focused on recognizing strengths in each other, and on building trust to enhance camaraderie, collaboration, and climate, and we made the decision to prioritize relationships; relationships with each other, relationships with our families, and relationships with our students. 

Our week 1 priorities with students, we decided, would include:
  • Our students feel safe. 
  • Our students feel that they are valuable members of our community. 
  • Our students trust us. 
  • Our students know that learning is about getting smarter --- not just looking smart
  • Our students recognize that personal reflection leads to growth.
  • Our students recognize Carroll's focus on LEAD, P2, & Digital Learning, and have a foundational understanding of the why? for each. 
On Tuesday, my September issue of Educational Leadership magazine arrived with Relationships First splashed across the cover. In the first article, entitled What to Do in WEEK ONE?, Rick Wormeli writes, "Although we can build positive relationships throughout the school year, the first weeks are crucial. They set the tone and conditions for the year ahead, creating a more effective learning environment for everyone. James Comer, a professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale University, often declares, 'No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.' This connection is especially powerful for students who struggle."

So true. 

While Carroll made significant academic gains last school year, (Composite Student Proficiency +10 percentage points, Math 1 +27 points, Science +17 points, and Reading and Math +7 points each), officially removing us from the Department of Public Instruction's Low Performing Schools list, we know that we can do even better. 

Our students are smart and savvy, and they have the potential to achieve their most wildly ambitious goals. They're more than test scores, they're people, and in order to best serve and support them, we need to know what kind of impact they aspire to have in this world - today, tomorrow, and in the future. Relationships matter. 


As I have walked the halls this week, I have seen magical moments in learning --- learning that is deeper than content in isolation, the kind of learning that I believe will pave the way for a thousand lifetimes of learning. 

At Carroll we have smiling, engaged middle schoolers who are discovering their story - experiencing, firsthand, the power of their voice, gaining the skills to be successful in wherever their paths may lead them. 

It's simply incredible. Pure magic.


Dream Big.

You have a voice. 

Practice the 7 Habits. 




                  Choose happiness.

                                                                 Dare to be different.

           Aspire to become better.

Dream. Learn. Lead. Innovate.

      LEAD by example.

Use your power for good.

Teamwork makes the dream work. 

How will you make the world 
better place today?

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