Last Friday was one of those days as a principal that remind me why I do this job.  Interestingly, I spent most of the morning and evening in the Richard A. Brown Gymnasium. Over the course of two events, I noticed many things that reminded me that I work in a really great place that supports our kids and provides them with authentic opportunities to lead and learn.


The morning event was our Middle School Celebration of Learning, a student-run assembly in which every student has a role in presenting the range of experiences our students have undertaken during the winter months.  The band and chorus provided the bookends to an hour of poetry, seasonal photos, recognition of staff members, co-curricular experiences, community service, flexible learning opportunities, and the variety of ways we engage our community and world partners.


The evening occasion was a High School Coffee House, which was also organized and run by students.  Many students, teachers, and parents from the seventh-grade class volunteered their time, and proceeds from the Coffee House will support their class trip to Boston next year as eighth graders.  Again, I was struck by the sense of community and belonging, the authentic opportunities for students of all ages to perform, and the energy and aptitude our students exhibit when provided the opportunity to lead.


I contemplated the efforts of adults that made these events possible.  Teacher leadership, collaboration, and strategic planning were evident throughout the day and evening, allowing for student voice and choice to permeate each event.  Thank you to all the staff members that gave of their time for our students.  I appreciate all the parents and families that support our school and students by attending and valuing these flexible learning experiences.


Over the weekend, I pondered the importance of such learning experiences. How might we continue to develop and sustain these opportunities, balancing their complexity with careful planning and resource allocation? How do we ensure that students continue to have a say in their academic journey?  Questions such as these continue to challenge and inspire me as a leader.  Simultaneously, they remind me that I am privileged to work at BFA Fairfax.



Thomas Walsh is the Principal of BFA Fairfax Elementary Middle School. You can follow him on Twitter @educatamount

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