Welcome. Though it seems like only a few days ago that we gathered together to celebrate our 20th anniversary together, it has been a busy a few months getting prepared to welcome you and your children for an amazing 2013-14. This past summer I had the pleasure of attending a number of inspirational conferences including the Building Learning Communities conference in Boston. Whenever I attend a conference, my goal is to come away with a new idea and maybe, if I am lucky, identify an educator that I can invite to Davis to share with our student, faculty, or parent community. For this BLC conference I would have needed to charter a plain to bring back all the inspirational and innovative educators who are impacting their students, schools, and communities.
As I sat down to write this message to you for back to school night I instantly thought of one of these passionate teachers that I have recently connected with, Matt Gomez. Matt is a kindergarten teacher and runs a one rule classroom. The one rule is “be brave.”
I wish I could put into words how powerful this rule has been in my class but really there is no way to for me to articulate it. Be brave is the perfect theme, motto or “rule” for any class. It helps with friendships, tying shoes, monkey bars, missing Mom, touching worms, tasting new food, etc. Be brave is exactly the type of attitude needed for young kids. Every day they are faced with challenges as they grow up into this big world. If the only thing I teach them is that they can “be brave,” I have succeeded.
Though Matt likely does not have Kehilla, Kavod, Ruach, Chochma or Tzedek displayed on his classroom walls or integrated into his lessons in his public school in Texas, I feel like his one rule and the environment it helps facilitate, embodies the core values that both describe who we are and who we are striving to be. The message of “be brave” is one that also resonates for us adults.
- Be brave on the first day of school as you drop your child off for the first day of mechina and kindergarten.
- Be brave as your child makes mistakes that you hoped they would not make but realize that these mistakes are where meaningful and resonate learning occur.
- Be brave as your child rapidly progresses to accede your own knowledge in Hebrew, math and/or Shakespeare.
- Be brave and trust that your child’s teacher is a professional who has your child’s best interests at heart
- And be brave an be an active participant and partner in the exciting journey that will be the 2013-14 school year.
Christopher Robin may have said it best when he told is honey loving friend: “you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”
I look forward to sharing many more pieces of my learning from this conference with you through your children’s classroom experience as well as some parent sessions that I will be leading later in the school year.