Dear Blake Families:
I hope that everyone enjoyed a nice weekend. It is hard to believe we have only been back one week after February vacation, with so many events taking place and the 'full swing' of school happening right away! Our family enjoyed a much-welcomed family weekend - dinner out on Friday evening with the kids, sports on Saturday, and some unplanned 'down time'.
I would like to once again thank everyone for their work, support, and efforts that went into the Project Moves performance of 'Accept Me' last Thursday evening. As Kelly C. noted in her e-mail to our staff after the performance, a genuine sense of pride for our students and community was felt by many. This performance was sponsored by the MCPE, and the additional support from CSA and SEPAC is a testament to the community support we have here in Medfield. A special thanks to Kelly C. and the Social Norms group for helping to lay the groundwork for both students and staff. This group of invested staff members have helped to broaden the scope of we are doing with our students. I also would like to thank Loretta Porter-Fahey, Tracy Allen, Kelly Dengos, and Kelly Campbell for helping to develop and establish the breakfast on Friday morning with the students. The discussions led by Tracy and Loretta were important, as they provided students with the time to process and react to what they had seen in a safe and supportive environment.
In last week's blog update, I referenced Roland Barth's quotation about the impact that our relationships as adults within a community have on students: The nature of relationships among the adults within a school has a greater influence on the character and quality of that school and on student accomplishment than anything else. I believe that the work that we did this past week and this month will benefit both the students and adults, and I hope that we will continue to keep this on the forefront of our thinking. At the incoming 6th grade parent night this past Wednesday evening, it was a joy to hear the team of adults talk about the environment that we are striving to foster for our students - a work in progress, for sure, but one that has students front and center. Whether we are talking about academics, related arts, advisory, field trips, intramurals, or the culture of the school, we should continually be asking ourselves about the influence these endeavors are having on our students. With this in mind I have posted an article that resonated with me on many levels from Psychology Today, entitled 'How to Change a Teenager's Life'. The author, Marilyn Price-Mitchell, writes about the value of inspiring children and cites research from young people who, "...admitted that unless they learned to believe in themselves, they would not have been capable of believing they could make a difference in the world!" Price-Mitchell shares five important qualities of adults - passion and ability to inspire, clear set of values, commitment to community, selflessness and acceptance of others, and ability to overcome obstacles - and offers encouraging words for all of us: "This study showed that being a role model is not constrained to those with fancy titles or personal wealth...anyone can inspire a child to achieve their potential in life." It was affirming to read and reflect upon these qualities, thinking about the themes of community and perseverance we have taken on the last two years, and the influence that these characteristics do indeed have on adolescents.
To keep in line with this idea of influencing our students and the roles we play as the adults in their lives, I have posted two articles relating to the 'realm of technology' and 'balance'. The first article, 'Kids are Logged on - and Tuned Out' offers the author's thoughts as a mother who has been struggling with the bad case of 'digital distemper' in her house. Although the solutions of grades-based criteria for digital consumption/screen time are not ones I fully agree with, I appreciated reading the perspective and process she shared and believe you may find it of interest as well. The second article, 'Life Balance with Technology', is rooted in the similar message of 'digital addiction' and the need to find balance and learn self-regulation: "Self-regulation in an always on world has never been more important than it is now...this is as important for adults to get as it is for kids. We must be masters of our technology and our time." As we continue to explore and expand our programming with technology, it is essential that we remember to model for our students and one another the idea of self-regulation. This is a significant challenge for me as well and is certainly a work in progress. But, as a teacher, father, friend, administrator, and colleague, I am reminded on a daily basis that relationships are critical and nothing trumps the face-to-face conversations and interactions we have with one another. So, despite the inherent challenges I will continue to pursue the acquisition of self-regulation and balance and hope that you will join me in this pursuit for our students as well.
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