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Message from our Superintendent


Dear ASFM community,
School assemblies are back. Last week we met with the prepa students, and this week has been more focused on middle school. In these assemblies my message is pretty simple: Just show up.  I like to say that 80% of success is just showing up. Show up for class, and your results will be better. Show up in support of your friends, and your relationships will be better. Simple. Just be there for each other. I told the 6th graders on Wednesday that there are 49 days of school left in which they could impact their performance in class and in school. Time is running out–carpe diem.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about how we normalize certain behaviors. This week the Parent Association (PA) has been working hard helping with traffic by bringing increased order to the pick up times.  I watched cars drive past 40 people waiting in line to cut in front and attempt entering before everybody else. Is this normal? I asked the 6th graders whether we were normalizing arriving to class 5 to 10 minutes late. Does earning a 2.7, which means not meeting expectations, feel normal? 
I drive on Alfonso Reyes everyday to school just like most of us, and I have yet to arrive at the rotonda without having at least 4 or 5 cars drive around me in order to cut in front and get across without having waited in line. Is this ok? Just normal? I’ve noticed that I am also beginning to normalize bad driving habits; why use my blinker when I can just fade into the lane? Bad driving habits and arriving late to class are really the small stuff, but when you normalize the little things what might be the consequences later? 
Last week I wrote: 
“Community matters, and inclusion and transparency are key to its health. Sincerity and care for others allow all community members to learn and flourish. Strong relationships between students, faculty, parents and administrators should be at the heart of any school. Our job is to ensure that all people in our community feel that they BELONG in our community.” 
If you cut the line of traffic, does “community” matter? Are we showing “sincerity and care for others”? Let’s raise the stakes. With the demonstrated leadership of our young women in mind during International Women’s Day, will we normalize such an explanation as “boys will be boys” when boundaries are crossed? Will we explain the poor driving on Alfonso Reyes by saying “she’s a woman, she drives awful”? Or let’s raise the stakes even more, will we refer to the horrible state of affairs in Ukraine as merely a war (both parties are at fault) over borders or an invasion of a peaceful country? Words and actions matter. Words and actions create culture. Don’t normalize actions which can erode the very things we care about most.

Mom reading

Our 9th graders were lucky to have the poet Alberto Villarreal as a guest speaker in class. At one point he said, “somos lo que leemos.” I would change the quote slightly in light of the topic here and argue that “we are the sum of our actions” no matter how seemingly minor or great–what are our actions teaching our children? On April 7, we will have Mariana La Chavez  speak to the 12th grade assembly. I asked the 12th graders this week to consider their legacy at ASFM. 
As far as I can discern, the first rule of any religion is piety and for those of us who are a bit less religious, we call piety “gratitude.” Cicero, for example, is alleged to have said "Gratitude is not only the first of the virtues but the parent of all the others." There are 47 days of school left. It's not too late to start waking up every morning with a primal scream of “Yes! Thank you! Another day to become a better person and make the world a better place. If this is not your quest, then what is? Show up and embrace this quest because to sweep it aside is to let the deepest part of our soul and the bedrock of our community atrophy. 

Onward, George

PS Here’s another way of talking about prioritizing what’s most important: 

PPS After careful video review, there will be a rematch after Spring Break.