October 5, 2017
In less than 24 hours, the first quarter of our year concludes. Every year feels faster than the next. I question how it is even possible that the calendar reads October 5th. As I reflect on the start of the year, I see many opportunities to celebrate and many opportunities to grow.
Grades continue to improve. This time last year, we had 82 students ineligible to participate in extracurricular events. This year, that number is down to thirty-five. The leadership classes organized, facilitated, and completed a school supply drive for students in Houston. The NJHS students volunteer regularly in elementary classrooms. High school peer tutors work to support middle students during advisement. Students recognize the importance of showing others they care. Students engage in random acts of kindness. Each week, teachers flood my inbox with lists of students who demonstrate life-long learning and honorable leadership. Students write notes to me recognizing their peers. At lunch, students choose sunshine and activity to cellphones and isolation. Each week, Principal’s Praises is packed with celebration.
While there is much to celebrate as we conclude the first quarter, growth opportunities exist too. At the end of each day, trash litters our halls a bit more than usual. Some days, the challenges of growing up overwhelm students. Navigating the tween and teen years causes frustration, tears, anger, and heartache. Occasionally, assignments fail to make their way from the locker to the classroom. Some days, impulse rather than calm overtakes the day. Some days rival the terrible, horrible no good, very bad day that Alexander has. Some days, I believe, some would rather move to Australia.
Occasionally, the challenges seem to outweigh the celebrations. Occasionally, the steps backward seem to outnumber the steps forward. While this may seem to be true, I can say with confidence it is not. I see halls filled with students who daily make the right choice. I witness students come to the aid of others who need encouragement. I watch students advocate for each other. Every day, I watch students navigate their way through challenges successfully. Is it perfect every day? Not at all. But as a family, we work to improve each day. We strive to be better than we were yesterday.
As we conclude quarter one, I encourage you to reflect on the successes and challenges your student faced. Discuss their successes with them. Celebrate them. Ask them what they would change about their first quarter. Inquire if they have considered how to make the change. Encourage them to set a goal that would help them make that change. Check in with them weekly on the progress they make toward that goal.
Thank you for sharing your students with us. They bring smiles and laughter to our lives and encourage us to strive to be better every day.
Honored to Serve You All,
Food for Thought: It’s never too early to think about high school. For some of you, it is less than a year away. I may not agree with all in this article, but it is worth reading and pondering. 4 High School Parenting Mistakes I Made—That You Can Avoid
For Discussion: The Power of Kindness