Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My philosophy of education #SAVMP

I have been contemplating this blog about my philosophy of education all weekend and it has come down to two acronyms that I have shared with the students, staff, and families of Merton.  The two acronyms are BEST and PRIDE.  The first I read in an education magazine during the summer of the year before I began as the principal.  The second I heard when Lou Holtz, at the time an ESPN College Game Day host, was discussing a pregame talk he would have with his team before a big game.  I keep both of these acronyms in my thoughts when making decisions that will impact students, staff, and families.
BEST stands for Believe, Encourage, Share, and Trust.  Each of these words have power and meaning for students, staff, and parents.

  • Believe- As educators and leaders, we need to believe in our students, our staff, and our families.  I believe that each of our students wants to learn and is willing to give their best effort.  We just need to find out what connections we can make to help this happen.  I believe that our staff wants our students to learn each and every day and that they will do their best to make this come true.  I believe that our families want the best possible education for their children.
  • Encourage- As educators and leaders, we need to encourage our students, our staff, and our families.  I believe that we need to encourage risk taking in our students and staff so that they can learn about new topics and topics that interest them.  I believe we need to encourage our families to be involved in our school, whether it is to volunteer, to attend conferences, to attend after school events, or to stop in and speak with us about the direction of our school or the education we are providing.
  • Share- As educators and leaders, we need to share with our students, our staff, and our families.  I believe we need to share personal stories of success and defeat with our students so that they can learn about us.  I believe we need to share as a staff our lessons, our struggles, and our successes.  One of our teachers, Brian Fleischman, once said, "We are our best resource."  If we don't share, we are unable to learn from one another.  I believe that we need to share with our families the successes of our students and staff, the changes in our schools, and the opportunities that we provide our students each and every day.
  • Trust- As educators and leaders, we need to trust our students, our staff, and our families.  I believe that we need to trust that our students are making sound decisions and are doing what they believe is the best for them.  I believe we need to trust that our staff is doing everything that they can for our students, our families, and each other.  I believe that we need to trust that our families only wants what is best for their children.  This is the most important of the four words in BEST because once we lose the trust of our students, staff, or families, it is difficult to regain trust to its previous level.
PRIDE stands for Personal Responsibility In Daily Excellence.  As students, educators, and leaders, we must put our best foot forward each and every day.  We only have one opportunity for success each day and we owe it to our students and families to give it our best.
Ultimately if we do our best and have pride in what we do, everyone in every school will learn to the best of their ability.
I welcome your thoughts.