As a new school year begins, I’m reminded about the beauty and opportunity to start anew. For better or worse, I only know a world where this occurs every year as I’ve only either been in school either as a student or teacher/admin (new school year), or working in baseball at some level (new season). So it’s become somewhat routine for me to start again.
But thinking about this gift – one that isn’t true in most businesses or life situations, or at least one that’s not taken advantage of well – I remember this beginning as it is seen through the eyes of a child. What hope! What fear! What excitement!
For our youngest student, who is not quite 3 yet, it was the beginning of real school. And on the other end of the spectrum, for 28 others, it was the beginning of their senior year. But it is not reserved solely for children; starting anew is ever-present for everyone on campus. Whether it is Coach Adams, Mrs. Johansson, or Mr. Chavez, veteran educators, who begin a new job at a new school, or even for Mrs. Askin and Mrs. Lacy who begin the year with new last names, it’s new, and it’s exciting.
It’s also true that it is not reserved for people who spend 8-12 hours a day here. Parents are also feeling the emotions of beginnings: my child’s first day ever at school, my child’s first day to wear a school uniform, my child’s first day of middle or high school, my child’s first day at Allen… or my child’s last first day of their K-12 journey. It’s all still a beginning.
Like a team entering a new season, we all have a chance to win the proverbial championship this year. We are all undefeated – and hope, energy, and optimism fill the air. On Allen’s campus, the faculty is re-energized having read the book Future Driven. Students had a great week to start the year and are poised for growth in innumerable ways. Parents were eager to start again, too (tag, we are it!). The stage is set and we are about to begin a breath-taking, awesome show that is the year ahead.
To close this beginning act, last week I pledged to every student that we promise to do three things this year: 1) Bring our best effort and energy every day, 2) to push and challenge them each day with unconditional support, whether it’s a winning day or a learning day, and 3) that we will bring enthusiasm and a positive attitude to all that we do at school. I also asked them to call us on these if we are not living up to that promise at any moment. In turn, I asked them to give us their individual best effort and top energy, give us their best, and bring a positive attitude to all they do. By proxy, I would also ask that you pledge to do the same. In this partnership, we can truly be not only a remarkable school, but also the model for how education should be in our town, state, and country.
Beginnings come with a range of feelings – from excitement to anxiety and even fear. These are all normal and quite natural for human beings to experience. However, we owe it to each other to embrace the opportunity to start again and be even better than any year before.