We had a wonderful turnout for our first charter school parent meeting this year. It was so nice to see so many old and new friends. Details about the evening will be posted over on the OAC blog page.
Because it is early in the year, the emphasis was on the work we do at Opal School to create a strong learning community. Students leave Opal School with a profound understanding of what it means to be a participant in a community-- what support looks like, what strategies resolve conflict in healthy ways, how to build consensus that moves us forward, how to negotiate and trust and care.
What we tend to forget to emphasize, as we're reflecting on the power of a group that works supportively with one another, is how necessary it is for each individual within that group to know themselves and to be known by others. Children at Opal School learn to work together as a community because they learn to know who they are so well. Each child, with all her strengths and challenges, is expected to be a visible contributor. Each unique voice is listened for.
We talked a little of the magic that happens in every classroom every year. Teachers know where they're headed as they embark on the journey of the school year, but they never know precisely where they'll end up. Each individual child will influence the direction through the terrain of big ideas that is the curriculum. Individuals will inspire, challenge, argue, collaborate, negotiate with one another as this learning community forms, and continues to form throughout the year. The expectations for participation, the opportunity to be heard, and the responsibility to listen supportively to others, leads children to know their own gifts well. The strongest and healthiest communities are made up of strong and healthy individuals who care about one another as they care for themselves. The individual is strengthened because of this reciprocal relationship.