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Message from our Superintendent

Open House & the Sundial

Dear ASFM community,

Take responsibility, meet expectations, go beyond

I started my “welcome to Open House” remarks by repeating our school mantra of “Take Responsibility, Meet Expectations, Go Beyond.” These words and their current definitions are ones I hope are sinking in, and yet I know that it’s only by repeating, emphasizing, and providing more context to these words in new and creative ways that I have any hope of ensuring they become real.  I was so happy to see that we finished our first three weeks with excellent attendance.

At the entrance to MSHS sits the sundial. Why is there a sundial at the entrance to the school?  What metaphoric value does it have for us? I’m trying to be intentional about noticing and thinking about some of the things that are iconically ASFM.


The sundial only produces shadows because the earth moves the equivalent of one full day, every day. This means that our planet cycles through 40,000 km every day. To do so it must move 460 meters per second. By the end of our six hours of the school day, the earth has traveled roughly 10,520 km.


The sundial reminds me that the most valuable commodity we have in school and in life is time. I feel pressure to use time wisely to ensure it’s fully directed at our learning outcomes. “Take Responsibility” is defined as prioritizing time for learning in school. In order to “Meet Expectations'' for academic performance in class, students and their families will have to make sacrifices prioritizing the time necessary to meet increased academic expectations. The academic schedule has changed this year to prioritize time for students to get extra help or to pursue their passions.

As I entered MSHS this week for our Open House events, I thought about the relevance of the sundial. Since 1996, with the opening of this campus, it has pointed to the main school entrance and up to the Huasteca mountains. It serves as a powerful reminder that every minute matters and that in the final analysis we are all held accountable for what we do in the time we have on earth. As you walk past the sundial pause for a moment and consider where your time goes. How are you spending your time? Are you getting the results you’re looking for?

There are no shortcuts

I’ll send you off for the long weekend with one more quote, but this time from a great educator, Rafe Esquith. I started my teaching career in Los Angeles in the fall of 1987, and Rafe Esquith started his teaching career at roughly the same time. He was an immediate sensation, and I admired him because of the success he was having teaching in arguably one of the most difficult parts of the city.

“It is wonderful to have a terrific mind, but it has been my experience that having outstanding intelligence is a very small part of the total package that leads to success and happiness. Discipline, hard work, perseverance, and generosity of spirit are, in the final analysis, far more important.”--Rafe Esquith (author of There are No Shortcuts)

Esquith is saying that how you choose to spend your time is what will deliver results. In the time it took me to write this letter, the earth probably moved 1700kms. Our MAPPS program (My Action Plan for Personal Success) asks students to be intentional about goal setting. In short, when you walk by the sundial, ask yourself, how far forward have you moved today?


Have a great long weekend and please use some of your time to rest so you're able to deliver your best effort here at school. Let’s make our time together count!

Onward, George
P.S. Viva Mexico