It has been a whirlwind week of preparation, exciting in the company of students, educators, coaches, and parents, and inspiring in the focus of the shared vision of making a school that is great for all students.
After a few weeks of relative isolation, plugging away at paperwork and talking more with construction workers than any other adults, this past week has offered me the opportunity to attend an ASB retreat, a coaches dinner, a parent Foundation planning meeting, and spend time with my own admin team. The wealth of talent and passion is jaw dropping.
Much of the success any school sees over the course of the year comes from the vision and preparation that fill the days before students arrive on campus. It’s so important that we build and strengthen the systems that we have in place that allow teachers to teach, students to learn, and all of our school community members to contribute to this place we call home.
That principals and assistant principals spend lots of time planning isn’t a surprise to anyone; that’s part of our job, after all, and we know that if we do it well we have an opportunity to build a meaningful and positive framework on which to construct a great year.
What not everyone knows or notices is the care in preparation that other groups bring to the school year.
On Tuesday I drove to Palm Springs, where our Associated Student Body students had gathered to discuss the year ahead. Over the course of three days they drew up lists, dreamed big dreams, laughed, planned, and brought their youthful energy to the question of what they could do to make San Dieguito the best place for all students that it could be. They talked about building community, including everyone, and nurturing the sense of acceptance, creativity, and funkiness that help to define our school.
These student leaders, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, bring an unbounded energy to their work and to our school. To see them talking about how they could work together to make our school welcoming and supportive for every student, and every teacher too, couldn’t help but inspire, . By the time I left them more than a few had agreed to come to our first staff meeting to lead teachers in activities to promote community.
Students leading teachers. Magic.
Student leaders were also a topic of conversation at the “Coaches Dinner” that saw our athletic director gather together the head coaches of all of our sports team for a meal and conversation about how to support kids and each other. Over pasta and salad I saw our softball coach, a veteran of 26 years, listen to our first year soccer coach talk about the importance of athletes supporting athletes. I sat next to our baseball coach as he chatted with our cross country coach about connecting with kids. I saw this collection of caring adults come together to discuss what they could do to contribute to our school and our students’ education.
To say that conversation was kid centered would be an understatement. These were professionals who love their sports and care deeply about supporting the student athletes who play them. From the youthful field hockey coach to the veteran track coach, these adults have dedicated a huge portion of their lives to making a difference in the lives of youth. And they do.
Also making a difference, and a larger difference than any can articulate, are the parents, and on Saturday I had the pleasure of joining our Foundation’s executive board for an all day retreat to discuss the months to come. As playful and passionate as the kids from Tuesday, these caring parents came back to the question that drives my work: “Is this good for kids?”
The ideas that came out of our time together are good for kids, and the partnership between our school and our parents enriches the lives of everyone who is a part of San Dieguito.
Parents, students, and the adults who work with kids are, together, the reason our school succeeds. In the days ahead I’ll work closely with teachers, counselors, and classified staff to make sure that we’re ready to go when classes start on August 30th. We will be, and it will be because of the collaborative work that happens before school begins.