From Our Superintendent
Degrees and Certifications:
“[W]itness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another…”
David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
In late September, the seventh grade Red Team at Lewis-Palmer Middle School hosted an “Everyone has a Story” interview event. Over 100 students and over 100 community volunteers participated in over 100 conversations. Students asked thoughtful questions, listened carefully, and responded with insightful follow-up. The magic of learning and interpersonal connection happens in each of our schools every day, but this event touched my heart as I found myself sharing about my dad when asked about someone I admire. I experienced an authentic interaction with Alex K. when I shared a major element of the truth about who I am, and he responded with interest and sincerity.
This event, according to its described purpose, provided an opportunity for students and adults to “communicate on a deeper level and to really listen to one another.” The continuous access to technology that our society experiences today impacts interpersonal relationships. LPMS educators responded to this impetus with a meaningful community event which furthered relational ties between students and adults. The event also exemplified components of D38’s mission in that it created an engaging, student-centered environment and engaged our community. Community engagement is a significant part of D38’s mission. We value community partnerships and invite our parents and community to join with us in building a supportive culture that enhances our students’ quality of life. In our high-tech, social media-centric society, face to face connections are becoming rarer; therefore, intentional connection matters greatly.
Unfortunately, all public forums are not this respectful, underscoring again its significance. I have sat in various local community meetings and observed some adult interactions that did not model what we want to teach our students about community and communication. While preparing our students for their futures, we strive to model respectful community relationships. This is also part of our stated goals; therefore, we teach online digital citizenship and provide relationship-building exercises in addition to multiple avenues of connection and learning. Empathy and compassion can easily fall by the wayside while online or behind a microphone, but when we sit across a table, look into another’s eyes, and hear and see their reality - empathy, compassion, and connection are often natural results. We all benefit greatly from respectful connections.
I believe that face to face connection is imperative. I am thrilled that I was able to participate with our students, practicing listening, responding, and sharing stories. Connections such as the one I experienced enhance our students’ learning. Listening to each other is a tangible way of imparting value. Alex K. and I experienced the privilege of witnessing each other, and I know others had similar experiences. I hope as a community we will prioritize modeling respectful relationships to our students.