The Home Stretch

So here we are in the home stretch…….the Spring weather is here to stay, the fourth quarter is well underway, and the end is quickly coming into sight. In many ways this is my favorite time of the school year with our upcoming China Trips, the second round of the MAP tests (in which the comparative data is often times a true and tangible celebration of student growth and achievement), and the excitement of the end of the year graduation and its related festivities. The jackets are off, the shorts are on, the smiles are growing bigger and lingering a little longer, and there’s an extra hop in everyone’s step. For this year in particular, we have even more to celebrate as we head for home because of our successful WASC/NCCT accreditation visit that happened just last week. This rewarding and exciting culmination of over two years of hard self study work has made the home stretch even more inviting and pleasant for our entire community……but with that in mind I would like to issue a strong caution.

Sometimes, when schools and educators aren’t careful, there can be a tendency to take the foot off the gas so to speak when speeding toward the end of the year. It can become very easy to let complacency creep in, and to ease off on the work, the effort, and the attention to student learning. Losing focus and looking ahead to next year can quickly turn what has been a wonderful year into a disappointing end result simply because the finish wasn’t strong and the goals weren’t seen through to completion. I’d like to challenge us all over the next nine weeks to re-commit to our students, their learning, and to each other……..and to finish what we started. If you remember we began the year with an initiative (C.O.A.R), which was a clear attempt to bring us all together as a faculty and community, and to bring to life this incredible opportunity that we have to create something special for our kids. Well, we’re over three quarters of the way there, and in my opinion we’ve put ourselves in a great position to end the year on a high, and to be able to look back on the school year with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Enjoy the nice weather everyone, soak up the brightened smiles and lingering laughs, join in with the excitement that is emanating from our students, but don’t lose sight of the importance of what’s still left to do.

For those of you moving on to new adventures, remember that you’re only ever as good as your last exit…….and for those of us returning, know that students remember the educators that we are in June…..so let’s make sure they remember the best of what we have to offer. The WASC/NCCT team gave us many fantastic commendations and we should be proud, but they also cautioned us to not take the many wonderful things that we’re doing for granted. We’ve worked hard to become the team that we now are so let’s keep our foot on the gas as we rumble down the road to June. Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other…….make the home stretch the best part of this year’s journey!

Quote of the Week……….
The fatigue was there, but some people understood that putting it aside was the single most important factor in succeeding -Seth Godin

Attached Article #1 Finishing The Year Strong Finishing The Year Strong
Attached Article #2Twelve Factors in a Strong School Culture Twelve Factors in a Strong School Culture
Attached Poem – Spring Morning by A.A. Milne Spring Morning by A

TED Talk – Try something new for 30 Days (Matt Cutts)
http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days.html

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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