On this first day, students are simultaneously who they were just a few short months ago, even as they shed last year’s chrysalis to become something utterly unique. They are in the process of becoming—of course, they always are—and the first day of school highlights and punctuates this undertaking.
Our Mission: We open our doors every day to create a dynamic learning community in which each child grows into their best self. I had Turning Point’s mission statement firmly in mind this morning when welcoming our students back to school, with music and a rainbow arch in our school colors, and with a very special performance from our newly-formed Cheer Squad!
Our admiration for teachers at Turning Point often lingers in the abstract, so it was powerful for me to see firsthand how our teachers skillfully use reliable routines and expectations to maintain a positive, consistent learning environment. Teachers prepare for as much as they can, but lesson planning does not translate into cruise control in the classroom. Children’s moods are mercurial, so the real skill kicks in when teachers leave room for the inevitable micro-adjustments that need to be made all day long.
At Turning Point School, we know the best way to optimize meaningful learning involves considering and attending to all facets of our students’ well-being – intellectual, social, physical, ethical, and emotional. By inspiring and challenging each student to find their unique equation within these five areas, we help them discover the core elements that fuel motivation and success.
Our strengths-based approach to teaching and learning focuses on each student’s unique “positive equation for achievement” that helps them pursue increasingly challenging goals, perform better, and persist longer on challenges. It helps them navigate difficult situations more resiliently and inspires them to share their authentic selves and genuine talents with others. It is a profound marker of future success of all kinds, and creates the traits we want to see in those who will, one day in the not-too-distant future, inherit our planet.
Arts bring so much to the learning process. Beyond the appreciation of beauty and opportunities for personal expression, the arts also demonstrate more than one solution to a problem, as well as the value of asking questions and seeing multiple perspectives.
We are all social beings who depend on each other for connection, cooperation, and competition. Status anxiety, predicated on the position we feel we occupy on the ladder of success, functions because our self-identity depends on the approval of others. I look at our school and feel so grateful for the thoughtful guidance, purposeful direction, and positive encouragement our students receive. If status anxiety is about feeling alone, unloved, and unworthy, the education Turning Point provides and the community we build provides antidotes to these deep worries.
We want our students to use their education and agency to create organizations with purpose, to see relationships as opportunities to contribute and collaborate, and to give away knowledge and expertise freely. We want them to view success not merely as an individual race to the finish line, but as an opportunity to be part of something greater than any one person can achieve alone. We want them to leave the world in better shape than they found it.
As you rush around this week to prepare for the holidays, you may be feeling overwhelmed by all the obligations, real and imagined. This time of year can put an undue burden on us to have fun, to please our children and extended family, and to overconsume when perhaps we just want to maintain equilibrium. Here are a few things you can do to keep your holidays positive and balanced.
Research shows that there are some very real and tangible benefits of gratitude that should inspire us all to practice thankfulness all year round. You probably already know that gratitude makes us happier. But here are some other surprising reasons you may want to make the practice of gratitude a regular part of your everyday life.