Focusing Our Intentions for a New Year
It’s a time of reconnection at Opal School. A little more than two weeks ago, Opal School staff reconvened. Last week, students returned. Tonight, we welcome parents for Back to School Night.
Back to School Night holds different schema for all of us. As a parent, I’ve felt inspired and connected by some – and uncomfortable and alienated by others. I remember Back to School Nights at one school I taught at years ago as white knuckle affairs: I never knew what my principal might say to the assembly, committing the course of our work to a passing inspiration. At Opal School, we hope that the time will inspire meaningful dialog between families and staff around the intentions of our work.
Last year, for the first time, Opal School communities – Beginning, Primary, and Intermediate – wrote letters of intent to families (I wrote about them here.) What explorations are we projecting for this year? How are staff beginning the curricular ball toss? What will we be paying attention to? We’re excited to explore those letters with families tonight.
As I read the letters (linked below), I’m struck by the degree of connection between them – by how Opal School’s culture creates a sense of integrity of approaches, whether the children we’re working are three or eleven. Opal School’s values, guiding principles, and goals for students remain consistent, and that’s clear in the letters.
Another point of connection is the degree to which the teachers are guided by questions. They ask,
How might the process of creating, imagining, or inventing support the children’s sense of purpose and belonging in a community?
What does it mean to belong to a community that recognizes and values differences?
How can we explore interdependencies and stories of the past in a way which inspires us to take action as mindful citizens?
Reading each letter, I’m inspired and curious: To hear what these letters spark for these children’s families; to read the connections blog readers make between the letters and their settings; to follow a year of research in each of these communities.
As you read the letters, I’d love to hear: What do you notice? What do you wonder about?
2017 Letters of Intention (links for Opal School Online subscribers):
- Transformation (Beginning Community, ages 3-5)
- The We That I Am (Primary Community, grades k-2)
- Interdependencies and Perspective-Taking (Intermediate Community, grades 3-5)
Related posts – here and elsewhere: