Hello everyone!

One of my favorite things about the summer is that there is usually a little bit of time to take a step back from the day-to-day of school and think about the big picture. I try to do this year-round and am sometimes successful. But with the hallways (relatively) quiet, I can usually squeeze in some more reading, talking, writing, and, simply, thinking.

I’ve just spent some time looking at the digital portfolios for our students and am amazed. Our teachers are not only putting in a huge amount of time to develop a truly student-centered curriculum each day. They are documenting every step along the way, reflecting with students on their growth, and sharing this documentation through weekly emails, conversations, and, finally, the portfolios. It is wonderful to be able to look back over the years at each student’s portfolio and see how much they have changed since they first came to Compositive. I know they will love having this artifact of their experiences as they continue to grow.

One of our classrooms held a garden party on the penultimate day of school, and when they celebrated the students who would be moving from the early childhood classrooms to the kindergarten, they asked each of them what they wanted to be/do when they grew up. Not surprisingly, given our location, a number of students, boys and girls, expressed their ambition to be a doctor (one five-year-old, more specifically, said she “wanted to be an anesthesiologist so she could work with her mom and so she could help people.”) I was happy that our girls were equally as ambitious as our boys and hope that they will always be so. Additionally, I was happy to hear some of our boys speak about wanting to be good fathers when they grew up, recognizing that ambition can be about more than a job or career.

I still remember a conference I had with my daughter’s teacher in first grade. The teacher talked about how engaged she was and what a leader she was, organizing students into groups during recess and taking charge at every opportunity. And she was generally positive about this, but then she added, “Lily is an excellent student, and she has strong opinions. She should be careful about stating her opinions too strongly, though – she doesn’t want to make anyone mad.” I have no doubt that the teacher would never have said the same thing to a parent of a boy in the class. For whatever reason, stereotypes still exist in many smart people’s minds that boys should be the opinionated critical thinkers and girls should be the obedient rule-followers.

Luckily, this is not so at Compositive Primary. Our teachers consistently push our students to think differently, to argue, and to stand up for themselves. No matter their gender, our students are encouraged to be themselves and to believe in themselves. These traits stay with them wherever they go. Developing critical thinkers can be more challenging, no question. But the kids who ask questions and actively seek answers grow up to be the adults who seek to make a difference, and this is what we want for our students.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!