I’ve been putting some thought towards our school and our community. I wonder what people around the 108 think of us. I don’t necessarily mean our reputation or quality of service. And not that those things are unimportant, but my thinking is formed by questions like:
Do people think of our school as belonging to them (even if they don’t have children attending the school)?
Where does the school fit in this community?
What values do the people of 108 put on this school?
What does the community expect our children to learn?
I spend time thinking about these things because as the lead learner in our building, I want to make sure I understand the significance of the school in the context of our community. Specifically, I want to make sure that as a public good, which our school is, we are actually going to do the public some good. So that means I need both the feedback and involvement of the community in order to ensure that this school serves the community best.
I thought that a simple experiment would perhaps provide clarity for all of these questions rattling around in my brain.
What if we simply started referring to Mile 108 Elementary as ‘our’ school rather than ‘the’ school or ‘your’ school or ‘my’ school or ……..you get the idea.
When it’s our school, things may begin to shift in amazing ways. We’d get away from an “us versus them” mentality to just “us”. Wouldn’t be great if all the stakeholders in the community worked with us to develop a common vision and goal(s) for the school? Imagine what we could do with that. We’d all be speaking the same language and having the same expectations around behaviour, what (and how) our kids learn, and what they can give back to the community.
When we break it all down to simplest forms, it becomes a simple matter. I will also throw in a smattering of truth for good measure. And that is: like it or not, we are in this together. This is our school because we all have such a major stake in it. Teachers are the experts when it comes to teaching, yet their teaching is so much more powerful with the support of the community and understanding the community’s expertise on these same kids. What works well at home or on the hockey rink would very likely work really well at school too! I think we should be helping each other raise and educate these kids together. If we can do that, I think the sky’s the limit as far as what we can do.
My apologies if this comes across as derogatory or negative because that is certainly not my message. Another part of the truth in all of this is that we have a great school full of wonderful kids, taught by talented teachers who are supported by great parents. And we all get to live in a pretty great community. I think if all of these things could come together a little more seamlessly, tremendous results will happen at school. I don’t think we’re there yet, but taking a small step towards it will be referring to this place as ours.