As we come back to from fall break and return to routine, I hope that all of you were able to spend some quality time with family and friends whether it was here at home, on the beach, in the mountains, or at another vacation spot. Togetherness fuels the soul.
This time of year is one of my favorites as the countryside begins to fill with natural color and the skies are filled with beautiful sunsets. Around this time, I often find myself in the first round of deep reflection for the current school year. This fall break allowed me to do just that—reflect.
With the first 9 weeks under our belts--not sure how that time passed by so quickly--and progressing along into the second 9 weeks, my reflection led to our vision: Inspire. Empower. Unite. Through my reflection, I wondered how clear our school’s purpose is to all stakeholders. Since I had to wonder, I felt it necessary to provide some substance to our vision, as it is easy to assume everyone knows why we do what we do in our schoolhouse. Never wanting to assume, please let me take a moment to expand upon our simple yet meaningful three word vision—Inspire * Empower * Unite.
North Oldham Middle School’s vision has always conveyed and guided our direction. We’re a school in motion. Much like True North, a constant course that is taken, we have always felt the magnetic pull to move forward. We have a historical legacy and an obligation to our future. We are not static. This current gives rise to our change onward. It’s what carries us North!
Part of our work is through inspiration. We are inspired. We value igniting a passion to positively impact our school community of learners. It’s a potent force, and so it begins our day. Our morning affective education program, called Compass, becomes an integrated experience to establish relationships and build up emotional strength, personal confidence, and creative resourcefulness in the social, emotional, academic, and physical domains. There is a need, greater than ever, for students to face challenges with emotional equilibrium, and so we are cognizant of high academic expectations, and appropriate social norms in a safe, learning, and responsive classroom.
The other part is our call to action. We are empowered. We value embracing opportunities to build confidence and ownership through perseverance. We are a school with an upwardly mobile trajectory. This comes with work and rework. Academic excellence remains our greatest pursuit. It’s imperative that we hone in on the mastery of material, of course, but not at the expense of neglecting the process through an accurate, specific, and timely academic reporting method, as well as the meaningful tasks that lead to the assessment in this quest to meet rigorous academic standards and improve student performance while providing necessary feedback that works to motivate each of our Mustangs upward.
What we’ve always done best is work for a common cause. Our best has always come when we unite. We value working together toward a shared purpose through trust and acceptance. We make the most of our moments to know and learn from each other well. There is no let-up in our quest for research-validated best practices, committed and reflective professional learning communities, and active involvement in learning institutes. We are chock-full of methods that prove effective for all to achieve their full potential. One such method is our workshop mode instructional structure. Through the incorporation of gradual release of responsibility, community and student discourse our Mustangs are provided rigorous and engaging opportunities to learn. A second structure implemented recently is Seminar Days. These two days allow us to unite our talents and address those opportunities of need, to enrich, or to provide needed time for students to work collaboratively with peers. Our instructional delivery plans help us better address individual needs to move up the continuum of knowledge. At North, it is a pledge, not an educational hyperbole. Our purpose is not for one. It is not for many. Inspire. Empower. Unite. For ALL.
I hope you found the message of this blog one that provided clarity if needed or offered reassurance of what you know and have experienced, or even both. Either way, please recognize that our faculty and staff work diligently to provide an environment and experience that reaches the social, academic, vocational, and emotional needs of our students along with providing opportunities for growth on multiple levels as we work together to prepare these Mustangs for high school and beyond.
However, we cannot do this alone. Your partnership is invaluable to our success. Thank you to all the parents, grandparents, and guardians who roll up your sleeves with us as we do the necessary work to ensure the learning and growth of all Mustangs. Without this support and the many hours of volunteering provided, our schoolhouse would not be as great as it is. Your contribution to Inspire, Empower and to Unite our Mustangs does not go unnoticed.
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