Dear Parents and Friends of School #2,
Inspiration occurs when “people do something to better humanity in their own small corner of the world. They don’t need headlines or accolades. They need only to know that they stepped up to make things better.”
In our small corner of the world, also known as the Florence A. Smith Elementary School, we witness members of our community stepping up on a daily basis to make things better. Students, teachers, support staff, parents, front office staff, guests to our building, are either the recipients of someone’s inspiring words or deeds or are themselves responsible for providing others with those examples of inspiration we see every day.
I feel it is necessary to put our theme of how we Aspire To Inspire in a context that is specific to our learning community.
Last June, one of our fifth grade students was having lunch in my office with me and two of his teachers. For this student and me, this has become an annual tradition that is always a high point for me when reflecting upon the school year. During our conversation, this student shared with us that he loves School 2, that it is a source of inspiration for him. Because this comment was offered in a heartfelt, genuine, and unsolicited manner, it made such an impression on the teachers and me. It was then that we recognized just how important feeling inspired is to our students; how meaningful it would be for us to formalize the role inspiration plays in the lives, not only of our students, but of all members of our learning community. On that June day, the theme for this school year was established.
We should not underestimate the influence feeling inspired has on all of us, but more importantly, on the boys and girls of our learning community. To put it simply, “Inspiration matters. Inspiration allows us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations and is a strong driver of the attainment of our goals, productivity, creativity, and well-being…it has an important effect on important life outcomes”, such as learning.
(Why Inspiration Matters: Inspiration Impacts Everything, Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph. D.)
With this in mind, we believe that inspiration is integral to the academic success of our students. It is something that students should begin to recognize, as recipients of inspiring words or acts and as those who offer words and acts of inspiration. I am happy to share with you that it is evident that our students are indeed beginning to identify with those interactions considered to be inspirational in nature. Here are just a few sentiments shared by our students…
“My teacher has inspired me to work hard in math. Her love of teaching has helped me.” Gr. 1
“My sister inspires me to be a better dancer.” Gr. 1
“Mrs. Pedi inspires me to draw with passion.” Gr. 1
“Mrs. Costantino inspires me to read every word correctly.” Gr. 1
“Mr. Capone inspires me to come to school every day to learn something new.” Gr. 1
“I am inspired by my teacher because he makes me feel special.” Gr. 2
“I am inspired by my teacher. When I grow up I want to be a teacher.” Gr. 2
“The book, The Giving Tree, has inspired me to not be greedy.” Gr. 3
“My teacher inspires me because she creates a safe environment in the classroom.” Gr. 3
“I have inspired someone else by helping them with math. I felt like a better person.” Gr. 3
“We were inspired by our teacher when she told us how she helped a poor man.” Gr. 3
“A person who inspires me is my mom, by being kind and having a big heart.” Gr. 3
“It is inspiring how my teacher treats all the students with respect.” Gr. 4
“I hope that one day I will inspire someone else that way my teachers inspire me.” Gr. 4
“The book, Magic Kitten, inspired me to take care of animals. Now, on Saturdays, my mom and I go to Petco and take care of the cats for adoption.” Gr. 4
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has inspired me to keep on trying if something doesn’t work out correctly.” Gr. 4
“I have been inspired by the book, Wonder. This books tells me that it is okay to be yourself no matter what anyone thinks.” Gr. 5
“Mrs. Hopp is someone who inspires me. She makes me eager to learn. I want to be like her because she is so nice and kind.” Gr. 5
“A lot of people have inspired me to do my best at School #2.” Gr. 6
“Aija Mayrock’s book, The Survival Guide to Bullying” has inspired me to inspire others.” Gr. 6
The words shared by our students should be a source of inspiration for us all. Therein is the most important aspect of how we aspire to inspire. It is not just adults inspiring students, but students inspiring each other and the adults of our learning community. I feel it is safe to say that in our small corner of the world, there is an abundance of evidence that our students are very much a part of the process of making things better. How inspiring!
Proud Principal, School #2