Thoughts on Thanks

Thoughts on Thanks

by John Potter

I received a card this morning from the parents of an alum, thanking me for changing their child’s life. It made me think about the countless times over the years I’ve been thanked for turning a child around, helping her to love learning again, helping him to see his potential.

It’s incredibly gratifying to hear these words, of course, and affirms that we’re doing a lot of things right. Grateful parents tend to rave to their friends and colleagues about all The New School has done for their child.

But it occurs to me that people have a fairly deep-seated need to categorize, or pigeonhole, and praise like this sometimes leads other parents to believe the child we “turned around” needed fixing.

Absolutely not.

The kids who come to our school don’t need fixing. They are talented, creative, unique individuals who were not being served by whatever schools they came from. There is no criticism inherent in that statement, simply an observation that all too often the school does not fit the student.

Our faculty is constantly working to create an environment where ideas flourish, individualism is celebrated and each student’s needs, thoughts and talents are seen and considered important.  Teachers consult with each other and with the students and test out new ideas, the objective always being to help our students become critical thinkers, articulate and thoughtful presenters and enthusiastic community members.

We are not fixing our students. They’re not broken. We’re providing them rich soil, sustenance and the space to grow into themselves.front-facade