Once testing was completed, I made the rounds to visit some who were not testing but working in their classrooms on “important matters.” A 5th grade friend stopped me to share how they were talking about our school as a community and how we function as a community. In today’s society, there are few communities with the purpose and depths of a school community–our work is universal, long-lasting, and broad in nature since we serve every single child with no exclusion. From age 3 through 5th grade, our LME learning community sets the foundation and purpose of preparing the next generation to carry forth a way of life in society with values, freedom, responsibility, and more. The most important aspect in the community, though, is the relationship with each child.
Relationships matter; the foundation of any community is the network of relationships. Children need to feel safe and encouraged in order to learn. Likewise, learning and using their social/emotional skills, communicating effectively, and learning to take responsibility for actions and words help build strong relationships in the community. Passing a STAAR test does not include any of these skills, nor does it really indicate career readiness in life. Learning life skills such as working within a community (our school community) ensures each child learns how to be a contributing member of society…”to develop the character, confidence, knowledge, and skills to be successful in life.” (part of the MISD mission statement). Building a climate of healthy relationships in a diverse learning community where every student feels a sense of belonging is a challenge in today’s schools. As my 5th grade friend noted, “We build our school as a community one day and one student at a time.” Well said; build on!