Most mornings, after I see 400 or so 7th and 8th graders tucked into zero period classes, I make the rounds of campus and end up in the library. As a former English teacher and career educator, I love to see the dedicated pack of readers who gather near Ms. Coy’s big desk to laugh and talk about the books they’ve been reading. They’re a fun bunch, creative, curious, and filled with a love of reading. There’s no better way to start the day than seeing students who read on their own connecting with each other around books. They have fun and see that their love of reading is something they share with some other kindred spirits …including their principal.
Above where these adolescent bibliophiles collect before school hangs a large screen that we use as an indoor marquee. In addition to announcing upcoming events (like Spirit Week or the visit to our campus by YA author Marie Lu) the ongoing loop includes slides titled “What I’m Reading Now.”
We call it the family room, a well earned nickname, because it really is more than just a collection of books and computers. Our library is also where we hang student artwork, set out board games at lunch, and hold events as diverse as our Diegueño Book Club, Family Math Night, and our Cougar Champions Celebrations. It’s where I hold my monthly Coffee with the Principal, begin every school tour, and gather my staff when we need to connect as a Diegueño Family.
I’ve heard the space described as “happy” and “cozy” and while I’d agree with both observations, when I make my stop in the mornings it’s the kids and their conversation that lead me to say that what happens is more than smiling or comfortable. If you were with me after that morning bell and saw the students I saw, you join me in adding the word: “inspiring.”
So much about education is the meaningful connections between kids and adults on campus. I’m thankful every morning that I have a place that these connections can be nurtured, where kindred spirits can meet before they start their day in “The Family Room of Diegueño.”