August 31, 2018

Mini Musings - My mantras for an exceptional year

I would like to thank you all - teachers, students, and parents - for helping us make the first week of the school year such a success. It is a marvel to witness the energy that returns to the building when our families return and the smiles on the students faces as they reconnect with friends, meet their new teachers, and hug their teachers from the past. The smiles and laughter continued all week, and there were some great stories about students who did not want the day or week to end. This fills all of our hearts, and our collective efforts to prepare for a new year made for happy students we can’t wait to welcome back this week.

We opened the year with great intention around our culture and community. You will hear me say more about this on Back To School Night this September 6, but I was so impressed by the actions of our teachers to facilitate, and by our students to create, various norms that support our community and each individual at McGillis. From Kindergarten to Middle School, the week was filled with examples of building community. The Community Code created by the 6th graders at Sunnyside Park last Wednesday is worthy of adoption by any Fortune 500 company. Our students recognize what a healthy community looks like, and they are invested in the process of creating theirs.

I presented five mantras to my faculty and staff as we opened our time together this year. These are mantras I have always felt important for our work as educators, and I believe in the importance of modeling these as adults. The mantras are:

• Always assume everyone is doing their best at all times
• Be present
• The why and the who are at the essence of everything we do
• Work hard and be nice
• Open doors and open minds lead to learning

As we enter into this year we plan to be mindful of these mantras and recognize how they support our community as a whole. We will strive to be in the moment, acknowledge our purpose, do our best, be kind, be open to new opportunity, and help others achieve what they can accomplish.

Week one is complete! We look forward to our collective growth as a community of learners.

Jim Brewer

Head of School