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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Treats And No Tricks

Today was an extremely busy day full of meetings and deadlines. However, the best part of the day was the small amount of time I carved out of my schedule to attend a Halloween party in the gymnasium after school for the children in Kindergarten, First, and Second grades.

Beyond the fun that the young children experienced as they were involved in a variety of activities - dancing, doing the limbo, face painting, costume contests, and much more - was the great feeling I had watching the high school learners organize and supervise the event. Their advisor was there and she certainly played an active role in coordinating the revelry and served as a tremendous resource, but the sight of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders donating their time and energy to provide a wonderful party for their far younger classmates reaffirmed one of the prime reasons I wanted to work in Green Island. Relationships really count here.The intervention of the older learners was sincere and engaging. It was very gratifying to observe. It was clear that the older learners were not simply going through the motions to gain community service credit for their organization or to enhance their college applications. Instead, their motive was more altruistic. They knew the children and clearly evidenced care and interest to ensure that the party-goers were satisfied.

That genuine connection reinforced a central tenet of our school. Care, compassion, and consideration still count, even in this age of high stakes annual assessments administered at a time when everything that can be measured is thoroughly chronicled, evaluated, interpreted, and examined beyond belief and recognition. Despite the sharp contrast between an organization devoted to relationships operating in an era of objective and sterile data analysis, the two can co-exist. As proof, we have been notified (official word is expected next week) that on the basis of successful scores on state tests over the last two years, Heatly School is no longer considered by the state education department as a School In Need of Improvement.

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