August 30, 2019

Mini-Musings- Creating Epic Moments As We Head Back to School

by Jim Brewer, Head of School

Schools are places where we spend a large part of our lives. We meet people on this journey, and many different teachers, who are the designers of powerful moments that we can recall decades later.

Over the summer our faculty and staff read “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath. The book gives many examples of how some experiences can make an extraordinary impact, and argues that four elements are inevitably found in memorable and positive moments: elevation, pride, insight, and connection (EPIC).

I asked my faculty and staff to consider and share moments that they remember from their time in school. Their stories demonstrated the impact a teacher can have on their students. Not all of the stories were positive. There were some that were disappointing or sad, moments the Heath brothers would describe as “pits”. Pits are experiences that need to be filled in the hopes of creating “peaks”. No teacher begins their year, or any single day, without plans and aspirations to create peaks. The underlying challenge in this book for any teacher is to consider how they can create a lesson plan or a unit that their students would remember 20 years from now. As a faculty, I challenge us to consider the McGillis journey through your lens as students and parents, and ask how we might be sure you experience many peaks, and that your pits are properly filled.

The book has me thinking a lot about how you see the School and what you feel when you’re here. How might we elevate a typical routine at school? How do we instill pride in our community? How can we stretch ourselves, exposing ourselves to risk to gain insight? What are the most meaningful ways for us to create moments of connection? What EPIC moments is McGillis known for and can further create?

Back-to-School Night is this Thursday night at 6:30 PM. I am certain on this night that you will build connections and gain insight. We have plans to break the script of Back-to-School Night to provide an elevated experience. We hope your peak arrives by experiencing classroom activities, enjoying Bridget’s amazing food, and visiting with friends. And of course, we hope that you feel the Magpie pride on this night as we reunite as a community.

Know that the complete McGillis experience is on our minds as we begin a new year, considering all the ways we can be designers of lessons, lunches, trips, plays, concerts, and more.

Please join me in creating powerful moments to be remembered well past 8th grade.