This was one of my back to school messages specifically directed to our Gr. 12 students.
As an educator and principal, I have come to appreciate the important role that the senior students have in the overall tone, culture and climate of a school.
This year, as I transition into a new school, this belief has, once again, come into sharp focus for me.
To deepen my own understanding of the school, its culture and climate, I have decided to meet with each Gr. 12 student over lunch (and yes, lunch is on me) in small groups.
During these lunch meetings I have been asking the boys to introduce themselves, share something of interest about themselves, share what they like best about the school and to also share any points of advice for me as principal of their school.
My rationale for meeting the Gr. 12's is multifold.
1. I want to know students for who they are. What interests them? What drives them? What are their passions? What concerns them? What are they saying about their learning?
2. Like I've said before, I believe that trust in relationships is the currency of leadership. Students need to trust me and I need to trust them. More to the point, student leadership needs to be part of the fabric of a school's ethos and culture. It is important for me to empower positive student leadership. By giving the students a real voice I hope to initiate,in them, a real sense of ownership of their school.
3. For the school to continue to grow and improve we need open and honest insight into its strenghts and opportunities. There is no better way to gather this insight than to ask the students who have been experiencing learning in the community for years.
4. Finally, sitting down with each student, buying them lunch and listening to each of them is a visible and tangible sign of my focus and committment towards students and their voice.
Spending the last few weeks listening to the students has provided me moments of deep insight and overwhelming admiration for these fine young men. If it's true that "We go as You go", it is going to be an outstanding year ahead!
Still figuring it out...