I continue to be guided by the central question: How do we continue to build a learning environment where children can thrive? Every answer highlights the giving of care, which makes sense because we are wired for care. As we know and recently have seen first-hand, none of us would exist without our fellow humans' basic ability to care for one another and help each other survive. A grand web of interconnectedness exists; being connected to one another means each of us has an indelible impact. Paradox is present: we are both only one of innumerable people, and everything we do matters. 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!
One constant, no matter the year, is our children’s excitement to return to school, to get to know their new teachers, to connect with friends, and to re-establish routines. Whether in preschool or middle school—or somewhere in between—inhabiting a world separate from home provides our children with rich fodder for the development of their identities and esteem.
There is comfort amid uncertainty when our purpose remains unchanged. We become less “thrown” by the rollercoaster of uncontrollable circumstances when we focus on what drives our values, our joy, and our motivation. I saw this in the actions of our students this morning, as I watched them laugh, play, and connect with each other and with their teachers during Back-to-School Camp. While every child is certainly nuanced and different, overall they want to feel joyful, connected, safe, loving, and loved.
Last week, Turning Point teachers and staff were fortunate to enjoy a valuable day of professional growth as we set aside time to explore best practices in preschool-8 education. As an independent school, we firmly believe that teachers remain relevant only when they continue learning, and this year’s workshops and roundtables focused on themes we have identified as being important for student learning, well-being, and motivation.
The overwhelming state of climate change can shut us down in denial or despair, but we must find the courage to educate ourselves and our children about it, take action and inspire our children to take action, and support initiatives that will slow down or reverse the damage to our planet that is occurring with increased speed as each year passes.
Research shows that gratitude fosters resilience during transitions. When I look back at the year and reflect upon the many successes, I feel deep gratitude for everyone in our Turning Point community. I am honored to be among your children, who inspire me to be the best version of myself. 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 a transformational educational experience for all.
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.