I know many families at SAMS might be a little annoyed about receiving yet another email from someone at St. Anthony Middle School. There is a fine line between providing communication and over communicating 🙂 So please read this at your leisure. There is no requirement of response.
The title of this blog is “what is the caring response” – this has become a guiding question here at SAMS. Sometimes the caring side of education is neglected or assumed, but at SAMS we are making caring essential, something we teach, assess, and, when needed, retaught.
The staff at SAMS started the school year learning about the current research in the area of care. For example, The Making Caring Common Project at Harvard, research reports that 96% of parents report that developing moral character in their children is essential. In addition, this finding crosses all racial and socio-economic classes. Parents overwhelming desire caring over achievement for their children. Furthermore, 68% of teachers rank building caring students above building high-achievement students. Based on this research, adults (in the lives of children) value creating benevolent children over academic achievement. If this is the case, do children know this? Do they know adults value caring over academic achievement and even over personal happiness?
Unfortunately, no. When students were surveyed, they ranked achievement (48%) and personal happiness (30%) over caring (22%). In addition, when children were asked to indicate what their parents value, they indicate parents value achievement (54%) and happiness (27%) over caring (19%). And, when children were asked about their teachers, they indicate, teachers value achievement (62%) and happiness (23%) over caring (15%). This means, as adults who are vested in children, we are giving them mixed messages. We tell them we value caring, but we are showing them that academic achievement is most important. To sum it up, we are not walking the talk!
Armed with this information, SAMS will be deliberate and overt in their language and actions regarding creating a caring environment. The staff at SAMS have built standards or expectations for caring. Below are the standards we have created, these standards are essential and will be taught with the same effort as our academic standards.
At SAMS a Caring Environment looks like …
At SAMS we will demonstrate hard work by:
- taking responsibility for our own learning
- using feedback and self reflection to guide our learning
- being engaged in our learning by being attentive, participating, and managing our time
- demonstrating perseverance (grit)
At SAMS we demonstrate acceptance by
- welcoming all who are in our school.
- celebrating differences and uniqueness.
- showing kindness through words and actions
At SAMS we will seek out opportunities to act with courage by:
- standing up for each other.
- being open minded to others lifestyles and beliefs.
At SAMS we will show respect:
- for each other by being polite and showing good manners, being considerate of the feelings of others, peacefully handling disagreements, and practicing positive digital citizenship.
- for the building by taking care of all property (your’s, others’, and the school’s) picking up your area, practicing proper bathroom etiquette, keeping the hallway free of trash.
- for others by actively listening, being thoughtful about receiving feedback, responding to feedback in an appropriate manner, following instructions the first time, and using a polite tone of voice,
- by modeling expected behavior, speaking positively about students, individualizing instructions, and working together to help every student reach their full potentials
At SAMS, we believe that all will learn and contribute in a school committed to authentic learning in a caring environment. This will be our first year directly teaching and assessing our caring environment standards. If you want more information regarding the vision at SAMS please click on the following link. This is the presentation from the first SAMSA/Parent Council meeting September 28th.
As the adults in the lives of children, I encourage all of us to not only tell our kids we value caring, but show them and teach them how to care. We can all ask ourselves “what is the caring response”!