It truly feels like we are in full swing of the new school year, now that the opening days and back-to-school nights are behind us... and the rain has settled in. As I have said many times, I don’t think there is anyone happier to be back in-person more than I am. Even with the masks, it’s impossible to miss the happy (half) faces on campus, or the feeling that we are once again a community with a common purpose.
Following our leadership retreat in August, I began to unpack the word “community” and what I truly mean when I reference it. I often say I have been in schools for so long because of the community -- but what do I actually mean? I realized that what I really mean is the sense of belonging that comes with being a part of a community. I posed this to faculty and staff during our orientation week together and referenced a study described in the Harvard Review in July. The study revealed that people feel we belong in the workplace when we are:
Seen for our unique contributions
Connected to our coworkers
Supported in our daily work and development
Proud of our organization’s values and purpose
These four characteristics translate directly to what we aspire to create for our own community. If I replace “coworkers” with “classmates” this would precisely describe the environment we try to create for our children here at school each day. We all want to belong.
Ask yourself: What does it mean for you to belong? Ask your child what it means to them to belong. As the year progresses, I will continue to challenge each of us to contribute in ways that support everyone in feeling a sense of belonging each time we walk onto campus -- and ensure that everyone is seen, connected, supported, and proud.
One last time until next August: Happy New Year!