Last week we wrapped up our spirituality program for the year at our Celebration Gathering exploring our final theme of Changes. In the world of families with children, this time of year is even more significant than the New Year we celebrate on January 1. The end of a school year reminds us that our children are growing; it can feel as though time is slipping through our fingers. Having celebrated my older son’s college graduation this year, I am keenly aware of the passage of time, and doing everything I can to live each day with the understanding that today is a gift. Each moment is a unique blessing, even when things are not going my way.
At our Spirituality Assembly, I invited the students to take on a Triple Challenge: 1) to identify someone in the community they need to thank – maybe for helping with homework or providing comfort when it was needed; 2) to identify someone in the community to whom they should offer an apology – for hurting their feelings, whether intentionally or not, or for falling short of being a true friend for all the wrong reasons; and 3) to identify someone in the community from whom they can seek feedback – how did I do as a student? Was I a good friend to you?
In the spirit of that challenge, teachers had students write me a letter offering their thanks, apologies and feedback. I was touched by the authentic concern and personal voice that came through each and every one. Every student wrote about how much they love our school, citing such things as friends; a feeling of community; wonderful teachers; milestone projects that make learning come to life; STEM activities; a smooth transition into Middle School; and field trips. One Third Grader wrote, “I really like the school. I really like how it is all about including everyone. I like how the learning is expanding by the minute. I hope you know that everyone is very happy with the school.”
Some common suggestions included more time for gym, recess, and art classes; exceptions to the Sweets and Treats Policy; and less homework. One Fourth Grade student wrote, “I think we should have school until 4:00 and have no homework. Homework stresses people out and prevents you from going to the park.”
Some suggestions were endearingly unique, and I wanted to share a few of them with you:
“You have been a great principal. I have a suggestion for you. Maybe you can put a dog bowl outside for dogs to drink water.” – Second Grade student
“I think you should add a TV outside because people can see what we have done. Also, can you tell the bus driver who parks in front of the school to park somewhere else because the smoke goes in every one’s face.” – Second Grade student
“I think there should be an elevator and a vending machine.” – Third Grade student
“Maybe, when we go to recess, there is a place named Field House Grill…the parents could sign a contract for their kid(s), (so) they could buy something there, but not candy. – Fourth Grade student
“After considering it for a while…I think school should start at 9:00 and end at 4:00 so everyone gets a lie-in.” – Fourth Grade student
“I think we should have pajama day in middle school.” – Sixth Grade student
“One thing you could change is maybe you could make a time for us to kind of build or create – just give your brain a break.” – Third Grade student
The admin team and I look forward to the time we have this summer to consider these and all of the ideas received from our wonderful students. At All Saints we believe in continuous improvement, and sincerely enjoy thinking about what we can do to make our community even stronger.
This morning, as we close the door on another great year, I have to admit a sense of simpatico with the Fourth Grader who wrote, “All Saints should have a college and a high school.”
Questions? Comments? Ideas? I’d love to hear them! Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org