Message from our Superintendent
Breathing & Attendance
Dear ASFM community,
On Wednesday, as I walked the halls of MSHS I fell in line with a group of 8th graders. They were chatting, laughing, jumping and generally manifesting a lot of excitement. Together we arrived at their English classroom, where their English teacher, Ms. Mitkovski was waiting. She stopped the group at her door. She lowered her voice, we lowered ours, she began to explain what the students would experience and what was expected of them when they crossed the threshold into her classroom. The chaos of the hall was not going into her learning space. Time to stop, breath, become aware. She, in a sense, asked the students to take responsibility for their learning, got them ready to meet the expectations of her course, so they might be positioned to go beyond. Transitions. We are all faced with making transitions, hopefully with grace. We must pay attention to these moments.
I’ve asked our school to ensure our students have an overall attendance record of 95%. Essentially, a student can’t miss more than nine days a year. Last year many, many families missed over 30 days. Attendance is fundamental to our school’s success and to each student’s success as we recover from two years of pandemic. To attend means to be present, to pay attention to, to look after and to take charge of. Attendance is like breathing–you can’t live without doing it.
As Albert Einstein allegedly claimed, compounding is the most powerful force in the universe. So let's compound our attendance to maximize opportunity. By improving our attendance at school, we will naturally achieve in every sense of the word.
I have received a bit (maybe a lot?) of feedback on the revised attendance policy. We continue to work with our team to find the right balance. We are listening to you. Many appreciate the renewed focus on attendance. Remember we are only together as a learning community for 180 or so days. That means we have 185 non-school days to pursue other enriching experiences. Learning must be our priority for the 180 days we are in school.
We have adjusted a few aspects of the policy based on feedback. These adjustments will be communicated soon. We will continue to listen, learn and adapt, however, what has not changed is our commitment to attendance. At the most basic level we must be present.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”-- Aristotle
We are looking for excellence, whether it be personal or as a community. Let’s make attending a habit that we can all be proud of at ASFM. Take a deep breath and express your commitment to our community through your attendance.