Opportunity 2.012

So this week I’m going to write about the second facet of this year’s C.O.A.R. Initiative…..OPPORTUNITY. It was almost exactly one year ago today that I first wrote about this very topic, and as we begin the third full week of school in 2012-13, I feel as though we’re finally starting to seize the opportunity that is right here in our hands. Looking around at the smiles and laughter during last Friday’s fantastic faculty boat cruise, it is not hard to recognize the truly palpable positive energy that we’re carrying with us to start the year. The feeling on campus is upbeat, exciting, and wonderfully collegial, which puts us in the perfect position to consolidate what we began a couple of years ago. I’ve been calling 2012-13 “the year of consolidation”, because the initiatives that we’ve been working so hard to introduce to our students over the past two years are starting to take hold. From my perspective, it feels as though the momentum is growing rapidly with each passing day, and I have to say………. it’s keeping a perpetual smile on my face.

In my opinion, this “opportunity” that we have to turn our school from good to great (to steal a catch phrase from Jim Collins) begins and ends with the relationships that we form with each other. The educational/pedagogical thinking behind what we’ve rolled out is true and sound, but in order to successfully weave these initiatives into the fabric of our school, we need to have some ownership of the vision as individuals, as well as finding a way to join the fight collectively as a team. It makes me think of a great line from a Dr. Seuss book called The Lorax, which says……… “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not”. Well, as I see it, things are definitely getting a whole lot better at SCIS, and it’s because of what each of you is contributing to the cause…..so on behalf of all our fortunate students, thank you for such wonderful start to the year.
I saw a kid the other day wearing a great t-shirt that read, “today is the perfect day to have a perfect day”, and it made me think of our school, our opportunity, and how each of us has the power to make or break a students daily experience. We have the power and opportunity to deliver creative, thoughtful, and engaging lessons for our kids…..we have the power and opportunity to have collaborative and effective grade level curriculum meetings……..we have the power and opportunity to build open and trusting relationships with each other………and, we have the power and opportunity to have the necessary hard conversations with each other in a respectful way while presuming positive intent. When thinking about our opportunity this year, I keep thinking about a favorite poem of mine by James Russell Lowell. Think about these words as you continue to be the best that you can be for yourself, our students, and our school. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and great for each other.
It’s not what we give, but what we share-
For the gift without the giver is bare;
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three-
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and Me.

Quote of the Week……..
To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.
John Dewey
Article #1 – Building a Coherent Curriculum (Mike Schmoker) Mike Schmoker on Building a Coherent Curriculum
Article #2 – Building Trust (James O’Toole & Warren Bennis) Building Trust
TED Talk – Dare to Disagree (Amazing Talk… Ask yourself….How are you collaborating? How is your moral courage?)
Looking for Learning Website

http://www.greatlearning.com/lfl/

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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