Student Appreciation Day – May 8, 2013

I have been feeling most appreciated lately. Last month Acknowledge Alliance honored me with their educator award, last week the parents provided us with breakfast and lunch and we recently had a Parent Night where parents paid our school many nice compliments.

In honor of our upcoming Student Appreciation Day (Tuesday, May 14th), it is my turn to express my sincere appreciation for the students of Beechwood School. While they certainly are not perfect (who is?), I can find many ways to sing their praises:

Effort. Not every kid can have a 4.0 grade point average or ace every math test. But, every child can try their best. When a student comes to me during a study hall and says, “Can you go over this lesson with me?”, that is effort. When I see all 18 7th graders focused and engaged in their math lesson, that is taking responsibility for your own learning. I appreciate that an entire class is trying to get as much learning out of that hour as they can. I see effort every day and I love it!!

Growth. What we are looking for with our students is that they are aware of the areas that they need to improve in and that they are making progress. If a student has been losing his planner and starts being more responsible about that, we celebrate that. If a kid has struggled on tests but improves by employing new strategies, that is growth. If someone has used unkind words in the past but no longer does, that is growth as well. Again, the goal is not to have everyone wind up in the same exact place. The idea is that each kid will be better this month than they were last month. Better in 5th grade than they were in 3rd.

Taking Risks. Beechwood kids are not afraid to take on a new challenge. Just a few things I have seen this year that fall into that category: serving food at a homeless shelter, wrestling someone bigger than you, joining the cheerleading team, becoming a water polo player, singing a solo at the talent show and playing the drums in a rock band. “Putting yourself out there” is great training for the challenges that lie ahead!

Forgiveness. The Beechwood Family is small by comparison and, like all families, there are disagreements and arguments. Sometimes hurtful words are spoken. Just today, I was witness to two students who forgave each other and agreed to start their relationship fresh. That is a beautiful thing.

Giving Back to Beechwood. We have students creating a beautiful yearbook. We have students recognizing the greatness of Mr. Lopez. Our fourth graders give up their lunch on a regular basis to train all of us on how to properly recycle. When students donate their time and efforts to make Beechwood better, they are showing how much they appreciate our school.

And so, next Tuesday, for Student Appreciation Day, I will cook as many pancakes as the students can eat. Because kids love pancakes and I love these kids.

-Mr. Laurance