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The State of the School: How are we doing and where are we going?

Dear Families and Community,

Last year, our school community was preparing for some big changes.  When I was hired as leader in late October of 2017, I was charged with ensuring that our school began providing a life-affirming, Reggio-inspired education equitably to all- regardless of class or race.  In order to do this, I found we would need to make some significant changes in some of our practices.  In order to share these ideas with the school community, in the spring of 2018, we started a new tradition called the State of the School meeting.  The State of the School is an annual gathering co-sponsored by the Family Team, GRCDC Board of Directors, and school leadership to update families on the work of the school, share the thinking behind any upcoming changes, and really allow everyone to hear about the progress the school is making towards meeting our vision.  In the spring of 2018, we were preparing to embark upon some major changes within the school and it was important to get feedback from the community and publicly share our thinking.  This year, we are affirming that the changes we made are moving us in the right direction and wanted to update our community on our work.  We paired the State of the School with our End of the Year Celebration, allowing everyone (adults and students alike) the opportunity to reflect on and share the work of the year!  We plan to continue this tradition into next year, as well.

Talking to parents and grandparents after the meeting, many shared that they have never heard of a school doing something like the State of the School and that they really appreciated the chance to hear about some of the internal thinking, planning, reflecting and growing that is happening at GRCDC.  In my experience, that is true.  Schools don’t often share their “insides” with families and community.  Schools are frequently closed systems, not allowing others to hear about their processes, inner workings, and reflections.  However, we all know that GRCDC is a special place. True to our Reggio philosophy, we know that our school itself is never “finished”, but instead school is contextual- the school must respond to the needs of the community. Beyond that, the people that work at the school are not “workers”.  Like the children we learn with, we are also whole beings- growing, learning, and constantly seeking a full emergence of our capacities- as humans and a school. “School” is really nothing more (or less) than the collection of relationships within it.  Given that, we must gather together to think, share, and talk about the work we have done and the work ahead.

The next phase of our growth and turnaround must involve ALL staff,  families and students in working together towards our vision and our common goals.  Please take a moment to read through the slide deck or watch the commentary of this year’s State of the School.  If you are new to the school and would like to also watch or read last year’s State of the School, you can find that here and here.  As always, let me know if you have comments or questions.  I look forward to continuing this new growth phase at GRCDC with you!

Respectfully yours,

Lisa Heyne

Executive Director