The real inspiration comes from teachers. Imparted to students class period by class period, through lunch activities, events like those in our homecoming week, and ongoing conversations, creativity and creative confidence are cornerstones of the education students get here at San Dieguito High School Academy.
Teachers model creativity with the activities they use in their classrooms: Day of the Dead celebrations, acting out scenes from literature, and reenacting events from history. Great teachers inspire students to stretch themselves creatively, and just this year I’ve seen evidence of that in art shows, robotics, and more student concerts than I’ve ever seen. These are pure exhibitions of student creativity, and they help to define our school.
As a principal, I feel a true calling to promote this creativity and creative confidence. Sometimes I have obvious opportunities. I meet often with our ASB students, and do my best to start with “yes” when they come up with innovative and different ideas. I make a point to visit classrooms, studios, shops, and labs often and celebrate the work I see envisioned and created by students.
Sometimes promoting creativity takes …a creative approach.
We’re in the midst of major construction on campus. A new two story science and math building is about to rise in the center of campus. Knowing that this big dig would be surrounded by fencing, our art department, parent foundation, and students have conceived of the idea of celebrating the 80th anniversary of our school with a mural that will cover one of the walls and look back over eight decades of San Dieguito. Helping to midwife this project, which brings a creative approach of honoring the past, engaging in the present, and looking toward the future (literally, with plexiglass windows cut into the plywood of the mural, so students can peek at the building that is to come) is a tangible example of how, as principal, I can help promote the fact that creativity can and should be a natural part of everything we do.
Complimenting this way of thinking, and hoping to be an acolyte for creativity at San Dieguito, I turned the hard hat I’ll be wearing over the next eighteen months over to some student artists, who (after coming to terms with the idea that it wasn’t breaking rules for them to paint on a hard hat) accepted the commission and got right to work on making the boring white helmet “very SDA.”
Knowing that they had freedom to bring their creative vision to something the principal would wear regularly and publicly seemed to inspire the student artists. Smiling, artistic gears turning, they took the “canvas” back to their studio and got to work.
I’m blessed to be a part of a creative community of educators and students and to play a supportive role in promoting creative confidence in those around me. I’m not the most gifted artist, scholar, or musician, but I’m the fellow in the colorful hard hat watching creativity build.