Farewells are memorable occasions. That sudden sense of finality can surface a variety of emotions and words for people. Through nine years of administration I have experienced a number of those moments. One conversation continues to resonate and guide my actions as an educator. It was mid-July 2014 and I was busy preparing for the launch of a new school year. Most late summer days are slow paced and a little lonely with limited personnel on contract. My phone rang that day and things quickly changed.
Three themes surface consistently when exploring the literature about school improvement and factors that support high levels of student learning: rigor, relevance, and relationships. As we begin the new year I would like to explore the power of relationships in the classroom. We must be intentional about establishing routines and procedures that support a safe and predictable learning environment. Below are two principles about learning environments.
A few things are certain this time each year: my seasonal allergies are doing well (and winning), I’m hiring teachers for the upcoming year, and we are celebrating teacher appreciation week. As I think more about that last item, I reflect about the giants of my childhood, the best teachers from my K-12 years who continue to drive and inspire my performance today.