It is one thing to meet a grumpy, complaining adult and then another to see the same traits in a child. The first is unfortunate; the other is unequivocally sad. It takes a great deal more energy to be angry than happy. One drains the energy out of us, the other charges us up. One repels while the other attracts. The anonymous quote, “Energy is contagious: either you affect people or you infect people,” rings true to me. Surrounding children with positive people in their school environments, homes and extra-curricular activities is vital for healthy development.
The Upper School recently held its annual Honor Society Tapping Ceremony. It is a time when students are inducted into national and international honor societies that celebrate outstanding achievement and participation in academics and arts. Honor is a key requirement for many of the organizations. Like some of our students, I was never inducted into an honor society during high school. I am aware of what it is like to see “everyone else” be honored. We were taught to celebrate the successes of our classmates. We were also counseled to set goals and work to earn the right to be admitted into those societies, other organizations and teams that were important and meaningful. Those lessons are more meaningful today than ever before.
On Friday, March 29, at 9:10am all students, faculty and staff will participate in our traditional opening lap to begin our Relay day. Later that afternoon, as school dismisses, teams will be setting up their fundraising and entertainment activities. If you are reading this message on Friday afternoon, I hope you will either stay and let your family participate in some of the activities or come back and enjoy the team events and the community-wide opening ceremony at 6pm or the thoughtful Luminaria Ceremony after dark around 9:30pm.
The word “no” can make some people grit their teeth. Add the word “devices” and the phrase “No Devices” has the potential to appear to be a violation of human rights. How can anyone stay in touch with friends if they are not on a device? How can parents be assured their children are safe if the child does not have access to a device? These sentences are not written with an intent to be sarcastic. The “need” to be connected to others with the use of a device has become a way of life for many people. I am currently reading a new book “iGen” by San Diego State University Psychology Professor, Dr. Jean Twenge. Dr. Twenge researches long-term studies that help identify how various generations of people such as Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and now, iGen, differ from each other.
A great deal will happen in the coming 10 days. I hope the change of pace that Spring Break provides allows all members of our community to recharge and prepare for the important and exciting weeks being planned by faculty and staff at Shorecrest.
If one can be humble for even a moment, it is simple to see that what we knew or believed just four years ago may be very different today. The rate of change in knowledge, technology and global events involving the estimated but growing 7.7 billion people living on Earth makes it impossible to know everything. Why, then, would any teacher, school or university evaluate students on information that will be obsolete in a decade, a year or even a month?
Black History Week was started in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson. In 1976, President Gerald Ford designated February as Black History Month. Ford noted the need to ensure that the contributions of African-Americans were recognized at a time when history books, schools, media and society did little to acknowledge their contributions. Many Shorecrest classrooms have highlighted the significant and important contributions of black people from around the world and throughout history.
We are fortunate. Recently I reflected on the challenges faced by families and schools that are not as fortunate as we are today, and it caused me to think back. There was a time when Shorecrest did not have the resources to offer faculty and staff a retirement program. There was a time when Shorecrest did not have the resources to build a new Innovation Center and Community Commons. During those days the administrators, faculty, staff and families who led our school were committed to academic excellence. Academic excellence was where they put their energy and resources. We were fortunate that those Board members, teachers and administrators had vision.
We can learn a lot from watching people play. The children on the playground are my favorite. It is well known that children learn a great deal about themselves and others when they play. The common expression, “Learn to play nicely in the sandbox,” wisely implies the value of childhood play in building relationships and working with others.
Student and parent feedback, re-enrollment, and faculty/staff retention are three of many ways we learn how our families and the community feel about the quality of the overall educational experience at Shorecrest. Niche.com, a school and community ranking platform, has also become a source for consistent information about our school's performance and reputation in the community.
During the past week, representatives from SAGE Dining Services met with about 100 parents and guardians to answer questions about the Community-Inclusive Dining Program that will begin in March. Our community, like most other communities who have transitioned from a retail “fast food” approach of food service to a full Community-Inclusive nutritional choice program, have had questions about allergies, choice and value. Last week in Ebytes we published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and a video describing the Community-Inclusive program benefits.
Last week I noted the importance of focusing on a priority. Mine is the completion of the second floor of our new facility. While there are other goals that are important for the advancement of the school, few others will affect every child like the second floor of our new Innovation Center and Community Commons.
One of the pieces of advice I carry with me from the past year came from Morten Hansen’s book, "Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More." The opening chapter advises us to Do Less, Then Obsess. In short, select a priority and focus on it.
Over the holiday, a friend and I were discussing the amount of advice football coaches receive from fans, players, alumni and broadcasters when he started laughing and said, “You probably get more advice than they do because you play every day not just once a week.”