Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December: Thoughts on Leadership

When we speak of leadership opportunities in the Lower School, we have to highlight our Student Council. Our Lower School Student Council has representatives from First Grade to Fourth Grade. Council members are elected by their class, and meet on a weekly rotation. Members of the Student Council board take their position of leadership very seriously. They model for all of us what a community should look like: demonstrating respect, working together, planning, and taking on new responsibilities. Just one of the many examples of this was when we met as a Lower School last month in the theater to share our hopes for a good community. Classrooms from P-4 came to the meeting with 3 expectations that they felt were important things for a community to do, to become, and to practice on a regular basis. There were themes that went along with the general expectations of: responsibility, respect, safety, belonging, and maintaining a green/clean environment etc. The student council representative read the class expectation into the microphone and the class gave a shout out to their theme. Our Lower School Student Council president and vice president worked hard to help organize the yellow sheets. Hearing out community expectations out loud, seeing the yellow sheets with those same words written on them, spread across the floor, and watching community work in action all solidified for our students how we take being a strong community seriously. It is one thing to say we are a community and it is another to learn to act on that. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to raise positive leaders throughout the Lower School. Each member of the greater community has the opportunity to shine in their own right, from speaking up in class, in chapel, in the theater etc. to opening doors for another person or greeting guests on Grandparents Day. Student Council is one of those important ways in which we model active and humble leadership.  And, which leads us to be better individuals and connect to the greater community each day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October/November: Fourth Grade Leadership

This October/November I want to highlight some of the special leadership opportunities for our Fourth Graders. Fourth grade is the oldest grade in the Lower School. No matter the age, whenever you are the oldest in a division, or department more is expected of you and those younger look up to you. But, sometimes these new expectations can be confused with power and over confidence. It has been noted in magazine articles and television programs that many students get caught up in their own lives. They become over focused on their friends, sports, and academics. Here at Breck we also want students to focus on those around them. We want to teach how to lead, when to lead, and the responsibilities that come with leadership. There is a humility that goes alongside that of a true leader, because the focus is no longer solely about you…more importantly it’s how you can support the common good.

We do have leadership opportunities and guidance for even our youngest students, but fourth grade is the place that students can excel in the area of leadership. Here is where we begin to not only develop confidence and a can do attitude within our students, but an awareness of others and the impact we can make on others. Fourth grade is where we add opportunities: to lead the student counsel, join a committee, form a club… and, do it with humility, focus, and calm.

To me it is important every now and then to re-read the Breck Mission statement and values. This is an important, timeless document, which tells us who we are as a school and who we want our students to become. Under the third bullet you can read that one of our missions is to: Instill in each student a deep sense of social responsibility. And, the value that seems to best connect with this statement is the final bullet under the values from which our school operates:  That each student should accept responsibility for the common good and develop a desire to contribute to those in need.

Our Fourth Grade Service Committee was selected a few weeks ago.  Congratulations to: Piper, Noah, Aziah, William, Belae, Corinne, Gus, Katie, and Tommy! We know by your actions that you will serve us well this year in the Lower School!

A Note About Service Learning:
*Service is a call to action. Service learning is a time to reflect about one’s immediate community and the world around you. It is a time to see the need, a call to action, to work together, and to reflect on the process with grace and humility. At Breck we want to be ready to serve and with that we want to learn empathy. We also want to be thoughtful in the process. There is a time to act and a time to think. There is also a time to reflect and a time to pray for guidance. There are always opportunities for all of us to serve at some time. Be open to your calling each day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wow! Here we go...a new school year.

September 2015

Welcome to my blog. As Dean of 2-3-4 I want to use this site to share special events and activities that happen throughout the Lower School at Breck, but with a more intentional focus on our older students. Each grade level has it’s own unique expectations for community and learning. Each classroom has it’s own set of charming personalities. I hope my blog can give you a window into places that you may not  be able to observe first hand. There are so many opportunities for a child to grow and experience learning in Lower School. Each day never ceases to amaze me. Our teachers are organized, creative, and thoughtful in their planning. Our students are enthusiastic learners ready to try new things and to make connections to other experiences. Yes indeed learning is contagious…it is perpetual.

Today’s focus is on the Fourth Grade:
  •  Fourth graders are our leaders in Lower School
  •   They model working together
  •  They model positive energy
  • They model thoughtfulness and Calm

Fourth graders will learn more about their leadership role in October with a special Leadership Day.  Then periodically throughout the year time will be set aside to practice what is being taught: Lead by example, lead by doing, lead by listening, lead individually, and lead as part of a team effort. You may hear about day #2. This rotation day is going to be special for our fourth graders. They will work in Committees, Clubs, serve on Student Council, and develop a sense of focus and Calm. More information will come on that later. For now, enjoy the knowledge that we are building responsible leaders in Lower School. It starts small but grows each year. Just think of the possibilities when these young people are in Upper School, in college, or as responsible adults in our community. Thank you, Breck!