Sunday, August 23, 2015

What I Want School to Provide

Sometime this summer, in-between packing up one office and unpacking in a new office, I came across a particular sheet of paper that caught my attention.

The paper was from an activity that Mike Mattos had done with the attendees of some Response to Intervention (RtI) professional development that he'd delivered in Cedar Rapids several years ago.

The task was to fill-in the following blanks -
What I want school to provide ___________________________________________________


___________________________________________________ (Using only 10 words or less).

At the time, my son, Ryne, was two-(almost three) years old. I filled-in his name in the first blank and the words, "A caring environment that pushes him to his full potential."

(Mattos, too had his child's/children's name in the first box; he only used two words for his box - "Endless possibilities.")

Let's return to the present. My son is going to begin preschool in a little over a week. It's funny how your life experiences over time change your perspective and your philosophies. More so now than ever before, as my son is approaching the start of his education career in a school setting, part of my decision making process is to consider things through a parent's perspective. Is this what I would want in regards to Ryne's or Olivia's (my one-year old daughter) educational experience?

It would be hypocritical for me to expect anything less than what I'd want for my children.

To close our back-to-school staff  meeting, I tried to convey to our staff my priority of considering a parent's perspective when making decisions. Each one of our student's are another person's entire world, their most prized possession, their heart and soul, their entire life. Parents put a lot of faith in us as educators to care for their children for a large portion of the day, week, month, year. It is a huge responsibility that we must embrace.

I asked our staff to complete the sheet that Mattos had originally introduced to me. I didn't collect these, I just wanted staff to think about the education that they would want for the children that they love the most. I asked them to keep these, maybe they will even refer to them a time or two as we progress through the year.

Ultimately, my hope is that wherever I am, my school reflects the expectations that I have for my own children's education.
My sheet did not look terribly different than it did several years ago. There were some minor tweaks, but a majority of my response (above) was very similar.

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