Students returned Monday evening from Spring Family Weekend. Midterm grades are in the books, and just five weeks separate students from summer vacation!
This final stretch of the school year is arguably the busiest for students and teachers. However, during the hecticness of this time of year, there is much value in taking time to reflect on student growth as we did during parent/teacher conferences over the weekend.
Often we find ourselves so caught up in planning daily lesson plans, taking part in class discussions, attending meetings, and engaging in the fruitful assessment/feedback loop with students we forget to take a step back and observe just how must our students have grown as learners over the past year.
Conversations with parents and students over the weekend brought to light the various successes, and challenges, in our students’ lives. I received one email from an advisee’s parent on their way home from Spring Family Weekend that reinforced what we do at Proctor, “Thanks again for your support. We witnessed, again today, what a great caring group of teachers and advisors our son has at Proctor. They are all genuinely concerned about him and want him to succeed.”
This is our ultimate academic goal for students: we want them to succeed. Sometimes a student’s trajectory at Proctor is continuously positive and the student simply blossoms before our eyes when afforded the academic opportunities that exist at Proctor. Other times the path to success is a bumpy one. It entails (gasp) failure. But what we know is that failure is not an end in an of itself. Rather, it is just another step in direction of success. What I love about our educational model is such that we are equally able to meet the needs of both paths - the smooth and the bumpy.
Ian Symmonds, a leader in independent school strategy and marketing, recently posted a blog on “Grit and Generational Faddishness”
. His view is that the recent emphasis on ‘grit’ as a new core competency in education is ludacris - grit has always been, and will always be, valued in education. Symmonds writes, “We tend to think some concepts, such as 21st Century skills, experiential learning, innovation, or grit and perseverance are new concepts. They are not. They are simply a refocusing of the current status quo on what is missing or faltering in our systems. And, that is best practice.”
Proctor’s educational model is not new. We have operated with the same educational philosophy for decades by focusing on inspiring individual learners to engage in a hands-on way with the world around them. We are not attempting to be trending, we are simply doing what we have always done knowing that what we do works. We are proud of how each one of our students discovers success, regardless of the path taken.