Like most of you in this room, I am a parent.

I have an almost 4 year old daughter and 1 year old son.

Being a mom is the most important, most joyful, and by far the hardest job I do on a daily basis.

One of the reasons I find being a parent so difficult is because I am trying hard to balance what I know from my own upbringing and childhood traditions with what I know as an educator about the society my children are growing up in and the future they will be asked to live, work, and lead in.

I am sure all of you face a similar challenge and struggle to find all the answers to your many questions about raising kids.

When we think about the education we desire for our children, this balance becomes even harder because schools today are very different from when we were learning how to read, write, and do math.   Many of us have fond memories or take comfort in our school experiences and hope our children will have something similar.  However, we also realize that the world is constantly changing, and the skills our children will need to be successful in the future are different. We know we must be open-minded about a new generation of teaching and learning.

I came across a sign this summer that reminded of this struggle:

“Learning at the intersection of tradition and tomorrow.”

The sign reminded me of my personal struggle as a parent, but it also spoke to the unique experience I think Ravenscroft provides our students.

After celebrating 150 years of learning, leading, and serving, it is clear that Ravenscroft has a strong tradition of excellence and uses its legacy and wisdom to provide students with an amazing school experience.

But we also know we cannot rest on our past successes. We recognize it is imperative that we think creatively and with innovation in mind. We must plan and design for future states of education to ensure we are true to our mission of nurturing individual potential and preparing students to thrive in a complex and independent world.  This is where the intersection of tradition and tomorrow is beautifully illustrated.

Tony Wagner, a well-known author and Innovation Education Fellow at Harvard, has worked with business leaders to identify the skills needed to succeed in the future:

1) Critical thinking and problem-solving

2) Collaboration across networks and leading by influence

3) Agility and adaptability

4) Initiative and entrepreneurialism

5) Effective oral and written communication

6) Accessing and analyzing information

7) Curiosity and imagination

 It is exciting to know all of these skills are reflected in our Leadership and Citizenship curriculum that we are co-creating with the Center for Creative Leadership. This dynamic partnership with CCL has helped Ravenscroft focus on the future, and engage us in the process of designing experiences and curriculum that will support students grow in their ability and desire to lead themselves, lead with others, and ultimately change their worlds for the better. As students learn the character traits that will help them succeed in an unpredictable world, Ravenscroft becomes a community of citizen leaders.

This year we will be intentionally guiding our youngest Ravens in Lower School to increase their self-awareness and hold themselves accountable for their choices as they work on Leading Self. We will be encouraging them to be collaborative and inclusive as they work on Leading with Others. And, we are confident they will Change Their Worlds if given opportunities to be visionary and reflective. As adult learners in this community, we will all need to model these traits and practice them in our daily lives as well.

Our work with CCL is innovative and forward thinking–its the tomorrow part of the intersection.

I want to assure all of you that the tradition of Ravenscroft is just as important and will not be lost as we look to the future.

Our legacy is built on a foundation of academic excellence, and our very talented faculty will continue to provide your children with the very best curriculum, instruction, and assessment that is grounded in research of current best practices.

We also know that this important work cannot be successful without first developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with the individuals that make up our wonderful community.  Ensuring that all members of our community feel respected, appreciated, and celebrated is important to us and we want to know when this is not happening for you or your children.

This is an exciting time for Ravenscroft and there is so much to look forward to as we head into the 2013-2014 school year.

To quote our Head of School Mrs. Doreen Kelly, “we ask that you join us and embrace the possibilities.”

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