Message from the Superintendent
Love and Limits
Dear ASFM community,
It seems to always be the case that I'm in search of my Friday letter topic for most of the week, and then without fail by roughly 3pm Friday afternoon (why not earlier?) it hits me. I was saved this week by two parents who gave me a book that changed their perspective on parenting and the education of their children. The book, Ready or Not by Madeline Levine, makes it clear that we are faced with a daunting task to educate our children to be successful in this day and age. I love being given books that people find inspirational as they give a wonderful light into how somebody thinks; however, what I like best about this book is what the parents had written to me just inside the cover: Love and Limits.
Social change today feels cataclysmic to me and to all parents, and change is just accerrating making it even harder to predict what awaits our children just around the corner. That is scary. I started our first faculty meeting of the year by introducing a number of themes and by emphasizing the fact that we are building a school to educate students ready to navigate a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). Today in our virtual breakfast with 70 parents we asked the following question: what matters most to you? My group said such things as: globally competitive (academic profile), critical thinkers, creative, curious, value centered, mindful, resilient, adaptable, community oriented, emotional intelligence, and strong communication skills, to name a few. Upon reflection it’s pretty easy to say these things and much more difficult to ensure every student has these skills before graduating. Still, that’s our job and it does feel like we’re moving closer to an ASFM profile of a graduate. If you have not offered your voice to the Strategic Planning Process please do so in our virtual project nest. A great strategy should include EVERYBODY’s voice. What matters most to you?
Love and Limits. The world is moving fast and it’s forcing us and our children to face questions and scenarios that we might not feel ready to face. What do we do? I think we focus on learning and holding ourselves to high standards. If a pandemic can swoop in and end your job in a heartbeat, then we need to be preparing our children to be able to pivot in a second and reinvent themselves. My son Nicholas started a company in our basement called Recover Athletics, and he’s doing fine, but I know that 90% of new businesses fail...will he be able to pick himself back up if he fails? I hope so. I love what this parent wrote inside the book cover because it suggests that at once we are expansive in our love, but must be disciplined in coaching our children toward success. Our children will fail, in fact they must fail in order to grow. Making sacrifices means focusing on the process, on the journey towards our goals. It’s not about the trophy, it’s about the process and the analysis of the process that gets you to the next step. Love generously, but enforce limits.
As I reflect on this virtual breakfast discussion, I can’t help but think that we as a community are choosing, perhaps unwittingly, the ASPIRE school.We want our children to build the skills to be successful in a VUCA world, so we will need to double our efforts in ensuring that every student is a first rate learner--capable of learning almost anything, adapting, recovering and then flourishing.
Have a great long weekend and please make good choices. I will look forward to seeing you all in school on Wednesday after PCR testing on Tuesday.
COVID cases on campus continue to be near zero, if you would like to learn more about our COVID Testing please click here to read my last letter.
Find some recommended reading about COVID in the following links:
At a Glance: Covid Vaccine Mandates Around the World – The Guardian
Covid Vaccine to Be Mandatory For Children in Costa Rica – BBC News