Dear Kazoo School friends,
Here we are, off and running in a new school year! And with the return of the school year comes the return of my “just about weekly” Sunday evening “Fireside Chats.” For those families who are just joining the Kazoo community, welcome! I invite you to peruse the archives of my chats at Dr. Sally’s Blog. Over the last three years, I have reflected on many topics, including what progressive education means to me, assessment, motivation, the experience of being a “Kazoo Kid,” and more.
Many of you may recall that last year Kazoo School explored three all-school themes: “voice and choice” in the fall, “take a stand” in the winter, and “change” in the spring. These themes appeared in large and small ways throughout the year – from the Pokemon election and Winter Program, to National History Day and a protest music-filled concert, to Science Fair and “Man in the Mirror” at Step Up Day. All-school themes invite us to ask big questions and think about how these important ideas integrate with our other work.
In our back-to-school meetings at the end of August, the faculty and I discussed possible themes for this school year. As we shared our ideas, a remarkable convergence appeared. Although the specific words we used were different, the overall arc of the year was the same.
In the fall we build community through understanding our individual and collective identities. We ask, Who am I? Who are we? What makes us unique and what ties us together? What are our values? What perspectives or lenses do we have? What does it mean to be part of a group or community? How are we accountable – to ourselves and to one another?
In the winter, we will again embrace the theme of the National History Day competition – this year it is “Conflict and Compromise.” Although only students in 4th-8th grades prepare projects for this event, the whole school is invited to consider the roles of conflict, compromise, and – better yet – consensus in history and in our present lives. These dark months ask us to dig deep and do important work.
Finally, the spring brings new life – an invitation to the future. The faculty used words like healing, transformation, growth, restoration, service, vision. This is our time to put all of our learning into action and work to make the world a better place.
In the end, we never quite settled on catchy words for each of the three themes. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. The collection of words and questions that define each season guide our study and reflection.
I see the energy of the school year like an hourglass – We start broadly, as a diverse collection of individuals. There is a coming together, a recognition of connectedness and shared humanity. As we enter into relationship, we encounter tension and must learn to work through conflicts. And finally there is an expansion, turning our energy out toward the larger world. I am so grateful to be on this journey together!
All my best,