Celebrating Milestones: Living in the Moment

This final week of school brings new beginnings, endings, and smaller transitions. On Friday we celebrated our rising Grade 6 students into the middle school with Candle Lighting. Students reflected on meaningful milestones in preschool and elementary that had shaped their intellect and character, preparing them for the next level of learning and leadership as the “top dogs” at Turning Point.

Tomorrow we will send off our graduating eighth grade students to a rich variety of excellent high schools that are as unique and promising as our students themselves. Our students’ placements and acceptances demonstrate how sought-after Turning Point graduates are, and we know these high schools will benefit from their sharpened critical thinking, intellectual rigor, incisive logical reasoning, excellent communication skills, emphasis on social justice, and confidence in their ability to impact the world in positive ways.

Sandwiched between these events was our Kindergarten New Friends Day last Saturday, bringing our focus on our youngest elementary children. What energy, vitality, and zest these students and their families bring to our community. Returning families with rising Kindergarteners watched them lead their new counterparts through activities, and new families marveled at the ease in which their children adjusted to this new environment. This special morning set the tone for many positive years ahead of strong partnerships and growth of children and the adults who raise them, as we like to say, in the same job on different shifts.

As educators and parents, our purpose is to foster the growth and development of children to prepare them for increasing independence and agency. I am proud of the accomplishments of our students and marvel at their growing maturity and poise. And yet, as a parent, I am familiar with the longing to sometimes slow time down and treasure our children’s diminishing babyhood or childhood as these cherished stages give way to something equally profound.

As I participate in these wonderful milestones, both as a parent and as an educator, I try to be present with all my complex feelings and thoughts. We tend to make decisions based on what we hope the future will bring, but the truth is that humans are bad at predicting our reactions to both positive and unfortunate events. We are more satisfied when we remain in the present and experience the myriad thoughts and emotions in each moment. Being open to all the feelings that emerge this time of year offers the chance for true, candid experiences that transcend the ordinary and surprise us into new understandings of ourselves as educators, parents, and people.

One feeling that keeps rising to the surface for me as I experience these special moments is gratitude. I am honored to be among your children, who inspire me to be the best version of myself, truly a gift, if a challenging one! I am grateful for all the support of our wonderful parents, who entrust us with your children each day. And I am grateful to work with a talented, dedicated, intelligent, faculty and staff committed to honing their craft and knowing our students deeply—resulting in transformational education for all.

So, as we strive to remain in the moment and savor the victories, I do want to take a moment to celebrate our year. The comprehensive list is long, but as I reflect on all there is to celebrate, these five come immediately to mind. Thank you all for the integral part you have each played in bringing these to life:

  1. Across our divisions and grade levels, we worked to focus on defining the outcomes of learning, exploring the “why” of what we do, and designing lessons that meet the needs of all learners.
  2. Record-breaking fundraising: we are almost at $1,000,000 for Annual Giving this year—only $15,000 short! Part of this success is due to the success of this year’s Spring Gala, which raised a record-breaking $146,000 to support our students, both current and future. Thank you all who gave generously. If you have not yet given or want to be that special person who gets us across the finish line, now is the time to support this worthy goal.
  3. We had an excellent high school acceptance and placement year, as mentioned above. This would not have been possible without a stellar “trifecta” partnership of student, home, and school.
  4. Our 2018-19 Admissions season was incredibly successful. We exceeded our overall enrollment goals, and are excited to engage our many new families in the life of Turning Point School.
  5. Our Robotics program flourished this year, with Turning Point not only hosting the FIRST LEGO League Regionals in the fall, but watching the Green Team earn the top spot out of 24 regional teams competing! Both of our Robotics teams – including students, advisors, and parents – worked joyfully and collaboratively during the course of the year to elevate the program to a new level. We are excited to build on these excellent efforts in the years to come.

Of course, in addition to these tangible accomplishments are the many ordinary ones that aggregate over time into bigger gains. Designing your own experiment and documenting the process, increasing your reading stamina, writing your own adventure, creating monologues to speak against injustice, developing a budget, traveling to a new city or country, balancing your pride with awareness of others’ feelings, learning to share, making amends, speaking in public, developing and defending your point of view, going on interviews, listening to a friend, cheering on peers, surveying community needs, remembering your homework, rebounding after setbacks, imagining the lives of others different from you, marrying your passion with improving the world. These are the incremental, steady steps we watch our students make as they happily pursue fulfillment, grace, and fellowship.

Savor these last days of the school year, remaining present with the joy, pride, love, and even the longing each milestone and celebration brings. As always, I am honored to share these moments with you.

Laura

Dr. Laura Konigsberg
Head of School

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Did you know?

The wonderful competencies children develop throughout the year positively affect their brains, producing not only immediate feelings of accomplishment and success but actually hard-wiring the brain to expect and seek additional pleasurable feelings of accomplishment. I hope you will read our community book this summer: Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina, a molecular biologist who studies the genetics of brain development. I look forward to sharing what we learn when we meet again this fall.

 

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