Reflections from an Empty Office
I’m writing this from an empty office. The books have been boxed up, the chairs have been hauled away, and the pictures have been stripped from the walls. Up and down the middle school, students will see a similar sight on this last day of school. After the kids leave today, the middle school doors will close for the final stage of our building transformation.
I am so grateful to our remarkable teachers who have balanced teaching, grading, and packing these last few days – they have epitomized “grace under pressure.” We can’t wait to welcome everyone back in August when we unveil our new building and classroom spaces.
It’s been an incredible year that has moved along at a dizzying pace. We began the year debuting a 1:1 iPad initiative and learning management system. From there, we could measure this year in projects tackled, games played, trips enjoyed, plays performed, or ideas explored. But equally important are the less tangible moments. At one of our end-of-year student recognition ceremonies, I shared these thoughts with the students:
We’ve gathered together to celebrate your achievements this year – both collective and individual. But I also want to recognize the challenges you have faced along the way and how you handled them. At times, you may have struggled with learning new skills, balancing schoolwork and extracurricular activities, or navigating social concerns. At times, you might have even felt like you were failing more than you were achieving. But when you look back on your year, you might discover that what seemed like a setback actually led to new opportunities. Perhaps you learned something new about yourself when you faced a disappointment. What we honor today is not just your achievements, but the effort, perseverance, and dedication that allowed you to succeed.
And of course, let’s not forget all of the amazing moments that happened this year that nobody knows about . . . except you. Think about the time you put an arm around a friend who was upset, the time you picked up a piece of trash when nobody saw you do it, the time you stuck with a homework problem even when you were tempted to give up, or the time you included somebody who felt left out. Thank you for all the quiet moments where you chose to do the right thing, even when nobody was there to see it. Thank you for all you have done this year to make this middle school a better place.