You have probably heard someone at SAMS throw out the line, “there is no such thing as other people’s children.” This commitment- to provide for the students at SAMS only what we would accept and only what we would desire for our own kids- drives our work. It also reflects the values we uphold as we go about our work of leading, serving, and learning. Those values include respect, hard work, and belonging as well as others. At SAMS, the grown-ups around here not only try to model those values, but we also try to make them more explicit so we can reflect on them with students.
When it comes to these values, we model them, speak to them, and make them tangible for our kids. Ideally, our values are reflected in our day-to-day work. How might we respond to a conflict between two students? How might we respond to a student who needs more time to learn? How might we choose the texts and materials we use in our classrooms? However, our values should also be explicit in the way we serve on the larger scale. How are the values reflected in our school climate? How are the values carried through from Husky Camp to 8th grade promotion? How are our values used to build trusting relationships with all stakeholders?
As Renee likes to ask, “What’s the bottom line?” It’s this: with so much at stake when it comes to educating our kids, we must be on the same page when it comes to what we want for our kids. Whether it’s our mission, vision, values or our belief that “there’s no such thing as other people’s children,” it’s never just words to us. They form the foundation of the experience students and their families have at SAMS. It’s imperative for us to know how they can be strengthened by the aspirations our families and community have for our kids.
Working together with all families within our SAMS community is always critical. Yet as we work to make progress towards becoming an anti-racist institution, we are learning it is imperative to ground this work in the context of our values, especially the ones we all share for our children and students.
Our hope for this spring is to get a clearer view of how the aspirations and values of our families and our community can support and bolster our SAMS’ mission, vision, values and beliefs. Here is our plan:
- The first step will be to ask a random sampling of at least 30% of our families to respond to a short survey. If you see a survey in your email inbox, please know that you have been chosen randomly and it would be greatly appreciated if you took the 10 minutes to respond to the questions. Once we have a substantial, statistically-sound random sampling*, we will be ready to move to the next step.
- The second step will be to give all families a chance to reflect on the data we receive. During this second step, we will invite anyone interested to come review and respond to the data either at next week’s SAMSA meeting or throughout the day on May 2, here at SAMS from 7:30-2:30. Using the input from all families who participate, we will be able to use it to draw conclusions about how we could best integrate the aspirations we all hold for our school and our students.
- The last step will be to review the findings and discoveries at our May SAMS meeting. This last step of our process will be held at SAMS, Room 217 on May 22 from 7-8 pm.
We are excited to wrap up this year with this collaboration with all of you. We will keep you posted on the different stages of this collaboration. Please plan on attending next Monday’s SAMSA meeting at 7pm, if you can!
*Little known fact: Renee’s doctoral work led to the discovery that she is a little bit of a survey and statistic nerd. While not every step of our process will reflect perfectly valid and reliable information, she is eager to explain why our model makes the most sense for what we are trying to accomplish. In all seriousness, she would love to talk shop with anyone. Feel free to reach out with questions and comments!