What a powerful statement, when you consider what it means to believe.
“To believe” means: “To have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof, that one is right in doing so. Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully.”
“I believe in you and the work you are doing.”
That simple, yet profound, statement has inspired me and the entire Lower School as we begin another school year with your children. That statement of belief, shared with us by our Board Chair and our Head of School, reminds us that the leadership in our school community is committed to, passionate about, and supportive of all of us and the work we do each day.
Even more powerful though, is when we hear those same words from our children.
Like you saw in the I Believe video. Our children, using their own words to describe how they believe they will make a difference in the world. How they believe they will change the world.
Or, just recently, during the opening of school Flag Raising Ceremony, our SGA President, D.J. Washington addressed the entire school community. Here was this Upper School student, who is tall, smart, strong, athletic, and very “cool” in the eyes of our young Ravens, and he shared the beautiful message:
I stand in front of you all today, to say that I believe in you. If you’re in pre-school and want to draw in between the lines for the first time … I believe in you. Or if you’re in seventh grade and are trying out for a team for the first time … I believe in you. And my classmates, the seniors. That dream college you are applying to… I believe in you. Throughout the year we all will have our challenges, trust me I know. But remember, we go to Ravenscroft. We are one big family and there are many other people on this campus that believe in you and support you just as much as I do .
In that one moment, D.J. exemplified for our entire community what it means to Lead From Here and reminded us all of the impact of this important work.
Tonight, I stand with you as a parent and I want you to know that I believe.
I believe in our children
I believe in the wonderful families that we are fortunate to have here at our school community.
I believe in our faculty and staff.
I believe in our leadership team.
I believe in our mission and the work we do each day to live out that mission.
This summer, I read a great article in Education Week written by one of Johns Hopkins’ doctoral students — it caught my attention because it emphasized the difference between what it means to be a STUDENT and what it means to be a SCHOLAR.
It’s an important point that I’d like to share with you tonight, because this year, as we learn with our youngest Ravens and support them as they strive to lead successful, happy, and productive lives, I’d like for us all to think about what we really want for our children and consider the difference between the path of a student and the path of a scholar.
This is what caught my attention in the article:
“Students check boxes. They study content, progress through a series of prescribed skills and tasks, and ultimately demonstrate their understanding of the provided information set. “
“You are scholars. As such, we will become independent, autonomous, and self-reliant, as we discover the requisite knowledge and skills to make change happen. As scholars, we will uncover problems and seek out solutions. We will apply what we develop during our exploration in order to serve an authentic audience – whether it be the people in our community, our organization, our country, or the world. “
…. and here is one of the best nuggets from the article and another moment of true beauty:
“Unlike students who are given the context for learning, as scholars, we will create it.”
I believe in the path of the scholar for our children here at Ravenscroft.
I believe we can create the citizen leaders here at Ravenscroft who will change the world.
By providing our scholars with a rigorous academic curriculum that is relevant and worth learning, and integrating those cognitive skills with our Lead From Here program that intentionally teaches them essential non-cognitive skills, I believe our children will be positioned to lead successful, happy, and morally good lives.
As we stand together as parents tonight, I am asking you to believe.
I am asking you to believe in our children, our faculty and staff, our leadership team, and our mission.
Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully.
We must act purposefully together.
As you visit with our faculty and staff tonight, build relationships with them, partner with them, and believe in them and the work they will do with your children each day.