“Looking at the past must only be a means of understanding more clearly what and who they are so that they can more wisely build the future.” Paulo Freire
As one year comes to a close and another begins, it is imperative that we, as educators, reflect upon the year that was. There are accomplishments to celebrate from 2017 and also many things to look forward to in 2018. Even so, with all the positive changes happening at Woodbrook, we are also keenly aware of the challenges that we have faced over the last year and will continue to face moving into 2018. But it is in each of these challenges that we look more deeply at our current practices to help us make well informed decisions that will ensure a high quality learning environment for every student.
As a staff, we are collectively working together to better understand our strengths and identify those areas that continue to require us to learn and grow so that we can better serve the Woodbrook students and school community. Currently, each member of the Woodbrook staff is evaluating their personal values and beliefs as educators. This process of self-reflection will eventually lead us on a journey to developing a new Woodbrook vision and mission statement. This is an exciting way to welcome a new year and a new Woodbrook.
As winter break begins, we hope that you have an amazing holiday celebrating with family and friends. Woodbrook is an incredible school filled with many different cultures and traditions. It is those different cultures and traditions that make each and every student at Woodbrook unique. As a staff, we value the differences amongst the students and understand that the more we appreciate and comprehend those differences, the better educators we will become. We also value the important relationship that must be built between our Woodbrook families and our staff. Consistent communication and collaboration between the two sides is vitally important, and we will continue to improve our school to home communication procedures.
Our students were first taught by their families and that education carries on. Now, it is our job to work together to help every student move forward in their academics and character education. Each week, we have new words of the week to help foster a community of learners who value each other. The last word before the new year is generosity. Generosity doesn’t have to solely relate to money or wealth. It can also represent time, effort, love, kindness, and understanding. These are all attributes that we want every student at Woodbrook have before moving on to middle school.
The coming year will bring many exciting changes to Woodbrook. Some of those changes will take hold before the 2017-2018 school year comes to a close. For example, it is likely that the new gymnasium and open-space classroom in the back will be ready in the spring. This will enable our staff to utilize those spaces as a training ground for the upcoming school year. Over the past 6 months, many Woodbrook teachers have traveled to see similar classrooms across the country. Recently, we took a team of 10 Woodbrook teachers and travelled to the Northeast to see multiage schools and to learn from educators who are teaching in multi-age classrooms. Those trips will continue in 2018 so that more staff has an opportunity to see these spaces at work. In addition, Michael Thornton will be leading professional development sessions on co-teaching and multiage education. We know that many of our families want to learn more about the multi-age and open space instructional approach. We hope that once everyone returns from break, you will consider dropping in to visit our classrooms so that you can see first hand what teaching and learning looks like in this kind of environment. If this sounds like something that you are interested in doing, please feel to reach out to the administrative team to arrange for a visit. We know we have a long way to go but we believe in this work and will continue learn and grow in order to make our school a success. John Dewey said, “Education, therefore, is the process of living and not a preparation for future living.” We are looking into the future to prepare for what will be but we are also looking in the mirror to see what is. Happy Holidays to all and we will see in you 2018. Happy New Year!!
Principal Assistant Principal
Lisa Molinaro Michael Thornton