Message from the Head of School

A bi-weekly newsletter is sent out to our school community. To read previous newsletters, please scroll to the bottom of this page. The most recent message is shown below.

Mrs. Lamothe and I are finishing up our classroom observations this month. I know that she would agree that these visits really help us to remain upbeat and positive. During a typical day, there are problems that need to get solved, conflicts that have to be mediated, tears that need to be dried and even boilers that have to be re-started from time to time. There is paperwork to be completed and filed. There are grades to be posted and emails to be answered about the grades that were posted. There is so much to do that we sometimes forget about the good that is happening all around us. I am not complaining. It is what we do.

We do find respite, however, when we block our schedules off to visit a classroom. And when we do, I find it easy to concur with the opinions many parents voiced through the parent survey. Our teachers are highly qualified and they care deeply about the children they teach.

Today, we visited Mr. Sylvester’s first grade music class. I anticipated being entertained by bright and cheery children. I was not disappointed. The children held their pitch. They were able to recognize the notes on a staff. They played their recorders in unison. They have learned so much in such a short amount of time. And so, clearly Mr. Sylvester is doing a fine job. His standards are high. He continually pushes his students to do better. He makes sure all of his students are engaged. He gives wonderful positive reinforcement to keep his students focused.

All of the above demonstrates that Mr. Sylvester is a really good teacher. However, what makes him an outstanding teacher has nothing to do with music. At the beginning of class, he gathered his students on the carpet and in a deliberately soft voice spoke to them about love. He said “Love is about putting others first.” He told them that when they speak out of turn or become distracted, they are not listening to the needs of those around them.  Most were intently listening. During the class, when a student forgot this message he would gently remind them.

I remember being told to behave by more than a few adults in my life on more than a few occasions. I never remember anyone explaining why I should behave well. Mr. Sylvester is an outstanding teacher because he teaches kids to read music, play and sing songs.  More importantly, he teaches children to be empathetic, a virtue that is in short supply in our world. I know they will take his message to heart. I know most of them will think about others a bit more before they speak out. This is an important lesson learned and it is one that is music to my ears!

Sincerely,

William Gartside
Head of School