What an amazing first day! I may not quite yet have succeeded in my quest to get to know each of you personally, but I am well on my way. And what I did learn about our community in just one short day is both inspiring and reassuring.
I met a student who swam with dolphins, commiserated with a group of Level 4 students about long road trips, listened to the joyful sounds of play during recess, sipped coffee and traded first-day stories with middle school parents, met some of our new Primary students, listened to Level K students describe their goals for the year, cheered a spirited lunchtime soccer game, heard about loose and lost teeth from Level 1 students, greeted students at drop-off and pick-up, and watched as returning friends connected with younger peers and the newcomers to their classes.
The smooth pace of our opening resulted from careful planning and preparation on the part of our wonderful faculty and staff. Students thrive in a safe and inclusive environment, and our teachers have been creating learning spaces and developing routines designed to draw all students in and let them focus effectively on the excellent academics that Turning Point provides. We help students work independently and autonomously, as well as develop respectful habits of collaboration. We help students think creatively rather than memorize formulas. While we cannot predict what skills and knowledge will be most valuable in the future—even in a few years—we know with certainty that our students must learn to think flexibly and critically, and to work well together. Every Turning Point student will be able to communicate clearly when they graduate from our middle school to make their mark on the world.
The first day of school is transformational. It is both poignant and inspiring to be in the position to observe these lovely young people poised on the verge of blossoming into new selves. That’s the magic of Turning Point, and what an honor it is to be part of their journey.