I hope you each had a productive second week of school as we find our collective sea legs in this new academic year. If you didn’t see last Sunday’s New York Times, I highly recommend that you find a copy or look for it online. The opinion section had a focus on education and, in particular, highlighted different perspectives on a seemingly simple question: “What is school for?”
The essays that followed in response to that question included, “School is for Making Citizens,” “School is for Learning to Read,” “School is for Care,” and “School is for Hope.” (One particularly tough essay to read was entitled, “School is for Wasting Time and Money.” Ouch.)
In reading each of these essays, which I encourage everyone to also do, I was reminded of the diversity of thought that exists in defining the purpose of schools. Taken together, it’s no wonder that expectations for our work sometimes feel impossible to meet.
As is most often the case, one of the most profound essays in the Times series was written by high school students in Oakland, CA, entitled, “School is for Us.” A few highlights:
“Most grown-ups believe that school is only for learning back-to-back. They don’t understand the parts that build character for us teens. They don’t understand that school is where we grow and learn to express ourselves. The things we go through are like the practice tests for what comes next.”
“School is about making mistakes and learning from them. Schools is the prime time in life to make as many mistakes as you possibly can so that you can learn from them and not repeat those same mistakes again in adult life, where they could have more drastic consequences.”
“School is somewhere you can build your confidence in life, even if you are not too sure about it.”
The wisdom of these students gives me goosebumps each time I re-read their essay.
The reason I’m touching on this subject is because our work throughout the fall semester to finalize a new strategic plan for the district will begin by revisiting some basic questions, such as “What is school for?” Over the past year, we have seen conversations about schools become weaponized and incredibly toxic. Rather than simply collecting feedback on a list of teaching and learning proposals for a new strategic plan, I believe it is essential to begin by slowing down and soliciting student, staff, and community perspectives on the purpose of schools, so that we will have clear sightlines into the efforts in which we will be engaged. While I suspect that we will not find unanimity in these conversations across all groups, I believe it is nonetheless an essential process, which will lead to a greater understanding of what we are trying to do in the Wellesley Public Schools. As educators, your voices will be critical in these conversations and I look forward to joining you in this dialogue in the weeks and months to follow.
Thanks for all that you do each day to support our students and have a great weekend.
9/13/22 – School Committee Meeting (in person) 6:30 p.m. Juliani Room, Wellesley Town Hall
9/26/22 – Rosh Hashanah – No School
9/27/22 – School Committee Meeting 6:30 p.m.
Middle School Girls Soccer – https://wellesleyps.tedk12.com/hire/ViewJob.aspx?JobID=260
Middle School Girls Volleyball – https://wellesleyps.tedk12.com/hire/ViewJob.aspx?JobID=259
Please contact Jacqueline “Jackie” Meyer in the Human Resources Office for all your lane changes, questions and concerns. Her email is email@example.com and phone number is 781-446-6210 x 5622.
Human Relations Services
The Human Relation Services (HRS) can help. Wellesley Public Schools has contracted with HRS to provide up to ten free counseling visits for you and/or your family members. This program is designed to help you deal with stresses of life and work –including personal and family issues, drug or alcohol problems, and job related tension. It offers prevention and intervention to reduce these stresses and improve coping skills.
HRS is located at 11 Chapel Place in Wellesley and can be reached at 781-235-4950. This is a confidential service. Wellesley Public Schools is not aware of the names of employees or their family members who utilize this service.
Do you have a question for the WPS Human Resources Department?
Email AskHR@Wellesleyps.org. The Human Resources Department is happy to assist you.
WPS Internal Job Postings on District Website
For all Internal Job Postings, please go to “Internal Job Postings” under the Faculty tab of the District’s website.