Good evening to everyone in FLRSD
In the few months I have been here It is very clear to me we are blessed to work with students who, regardless of grade level, academic standing, interest or pathway are inquisitive and searching for answers in their own beautiful ways. Their vast learning styles and interests are incredibly powerful and their personal narratives and experiences are poignant and filled with a myriad of feelings/responses that remind us all that we must spend more time listening and less time reacting. Our goal as a thriving and vibrant school community is to continue to provide relevant, high quality, inclusive, rigorous, and well rounded experiences for all of our students. One “type” of education does not address the needs of all learners and all learners excel differently and at very different times and that is always at the forefront of our thinking.
Thankfully, I have already seen throughout the district, Principals, Associate Principals, Directors, Faculty, Secretaries, Paraprofessionals, Staff, Advisors, Coaches, Nurses, IT, Library Staff, Counselors, Special Education Staff, our SRO, Maintenance, Custodial and Food Service Staff, Central Office Administration and Staff, each of whom encourages and practices creativity and reflection and deserve our thanks. We thank our Town Officials, First Responders, School Committee, and our Business and Community Partners who seek to guide and support this work, as well as our passionate and invested parents many of whom I have met either at a game, at popsicles on the playground, or at a PTO meeting and incessantly each has had positive and appreciative things to say. Yet even when there is disagreement or discourse it is helpful and appreciated and we will use it as a district to grow.
And like the 80 year old father in the story below, each person and group listed above knows how to teach the valuable lessons to our students and model what kindness and patience is all about. I hope this resonates with you in some way just as it has with me since being sent the story.
The story begins…
“An 80 year old man was sitting on the sofa in his house along with his 40 year old son who has had little patience for anything that annoyed him since he was “always so busy” and was about to become a father for the first time. Suddenly a crow perched on their window.
The Father asked his Son, "What is this?" The Son replied with surprise "It is a crow". After a few minutes, the Father asked his Son the 2nd time, "What is this? "The Son said "Father, I have just now told you "It's a crow".
After a little while, the Father again asked his Son the 3rd time, ``What is this?" At this time some clear expression of anger and contempt was felt in the Son's tone when he said to his Father with a rebuff. "It's a crow, a crow".
A little after, the Father again asked his Son the 4th time, "What is this?" This time the Son shouted at his Father, "Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again, since I have told you so many times 'IT IS A CROW'. Do you not understand me?"
A little later the Father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had maintained since his Son was born. He opened a page, and asked his Son to read that page. When the son read it, the following words were written in the diary.
"Today my little son aged three was sitting on the sofa when he saw a bird which was sitting on the window. He asked me 23 times what it was, and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a bird. I hugged him lovingly each time he asked me the same question again and again. I felt such profound affection for my innocent son who I know is having trouble with something. I loved that time together today and I love his interest and need for safety in asking over and over ".
The soon to be father, with tears in his eyes, looked at his father and simply understood that the world is not always about “me”, “my feelings”, “my wants”, “my time”, “my patience” but it is about others and helping them find the answers in whatever way works best for them. We are not here to simply do our thing and rebuff those who need us. We are here to model excellence and although we do not always do that, we strive everyday to do a little more and make a difference. We have a choice everyday to help the world or to make the world more toxic. I ask therefore, “which are you truly choosing and how do you choose to live in this world.” Author Unknown
Thank you to everyone who chooses to help the world in patient, kind and peaceful ways rather than choose to be vengeful and negative. The next time someone asks and asks (whether they are three or 83) understand there is a reason and it is our responsibility to help understand it and comfort it. Just as the aforementioned members of the FLRSD school community and partners work to comfort in kind and peaceful ways while still ensuring accountability and the development of the habits of mind for all our students to reach their full potential.
May your week be filled with inquisitive people who come to you to seek guidance and may you choose kindness within your response, just as it is my hope when you seek guidance that is returned with warmth, patience and a smile.
Be safe, be in peace and keep asking questions
Alan Strauss, Superintendent firstname.lastname@example.org
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