President Obama’s speech Tuesday night regarding the Gulf devastation caused by the oil spill, inspired a third-grade student from Japhet School to take action. At 7:30 Wednesday morning, Grant Partridge set up a lawn stand with a hand-drawn poster pleading for donations to the Audubon Society to help clean the oil-stricken birds. “Watching the President talk about the oil spill, I felt sad,” Grant says. “I decided I needed to do something to help.”
Grant’s expression of initiative and desire to remedy a wrong-doing is pure character in action. He was motivated to help, had the confidence in knowing he could make a difference, and set up camp on his front lawn with hope and courage. Grant sets an example for us all!
Imagine a setting where children are nurtured by dedicated teachers to excel with unlimited expectations. While students’ journeys may be different, each stepping stone along the way provides a firm foundation for the future. This is what happens at Japhet on a daily basis.
As I prepare for this year’s graduation, I am filled with emotion about the progress of our five graduates. On Friday, June 11, graduates will be celebrated, not merely by name, but in a full testimony of his or her academic strengths, personal achievements, and character qualities.
I warmly invite you to join us for this momentous occasion.
Today, I am especially inspired by Ty Partridge, a parent of a third-grade boy. Ty is a professor at Wayne State University and a child advocate, and also an ambassador of Japhet School. We asked him to speak at two important events for our school this year. And while I have always known that what we have here at Japhet is special, sometimes one needs to hear it from another for it to ring true in a deeper tone … one that reached the very core of his audience last night.
“… I can assure you that Japhet is at the leading edge of contemporary education,” shared Ty. “Yet, while Japhet’s academic acumen is impressive, Japhet’s true strength is that there has always been a constant emphasis on the needs of the child as a whole person. Such grounding in a caring, supportive school leads to the development of what has become known in developmental science as the 5 C’s – competence, confidence, character, connection, and contribution – something that describes every Japhet student I have met. The sincere appreciation at Japhet for the unique promise of each and every child affords the Japhet student a strong voice through which he or she can contribute a meaningful verse in the powerful play of life.”
Thank you, Ty, and thank you to every parent who has entrusted their most precious gift with Japhet School.
“Character education is an essential part of a child’s education.”
~ Japhet School Philosophy Statement #2
Whether we know it or not, we all teach character. We speak out, we make choices – in short we model character daily with both our words and our actions. Thomas Lickona, an expert on character education and author of several books on the matter, says, “Character education is taught either by design or default.” Sad to say, all too often character is taught by default – what you see is what you get. Teaching character by design means we’re constantly aware of what we’re teaching and what we’re modeling. And when we’re aware, we’re modeling and teaching our best.
“If you create an environment where the right things are encouraged, then the right things happen.” ~ Dr. Woodie Flowers
The Brother Rice-Marian Robotics Team coached by our PE Teacher (and my husband), Joe Mohan, will move to the State Championship this weekend at Eastern Michigan University, and I’ll be cheering! It’s great to cheer on a team that won an additional accolade this Saturday, which in my mind is just as important as the points they received. It’s called the Gracious Professionalism Award.
You may be wondering, what is that? Let me try to explain in Japhet terms. I see gracious professionalism when student buddies from preschool through 8th grade work harmoniously on Earth Day posters. I see gracious professionalism when a student acknowledges another’s good grade. Simply put – gracious professionalism is actively expressing Respect for Self, Respect for Others, and the Golden Rule – these concepts are always worth cheering about!
“…make a difference in the world by the way I act and treat others.”
I am an observer. Maybe you are too. Passing by a classroom today, I heard voices — two students discussing a math problem. “Should we add or multiply.” “We need to know the cost and time.” “We know that…so then we would…what’s our next step…what did you get…let’s check.” Encouraging and respectful words.
Later in the day, I passed by our Japhet peace table and heard “I Statements” — students using their voices and words to resolve a conflict peacefully. “I’d like to apologize for my actions. I wasn’t really thinking, and I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings.” “I accept your apology and am feeling better already.”
How inspiring to observe our students using their voices and words to support others, to make amends, to make a difference.
“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” ~ John Cotton Dana
Welcome to my first ever blog! Inspired by student Wiki pages, the launching of Japhet’s Facebook page, and the integration of technology across the curriculum, I’m expanding my communication skills and embracing technology.
Just like character integration, technology integration requires a conscious decision to do it. The more we include it in our everyday life, the more natural it becomes, until it is an integral part of all we do. It strengthens and elevates learning.
Japhet’s philosophy statement #3 states, “students learn best when information is shared with creativity, enthusiasm, and in a variety of ways that supports different learning styles.” Blogging is new for me, and reminds me that we are all students — life-long learners — continuing to grow and develop.
Hello, Japhet friends. I am now serving my fifth year as Japhet’s Head of School. After teaching in Japhet elementary classrooms for 17 years, this role enables me to witness the Japhet difference in every class, and now I can share these observations in my new blog. I invite you to join me!
© Japhet School 2017