March 2, 2009
Dear LoMA Family,
I want to once again congratulate our entire LoMA community for their incredible work during last week’s School Quality Review. We truly came together as a family should and received a rating of well-developed. For weeks before the review, everyone who had gone through the process told me that it is virtually impossible to receive a score of well developed. Our reviewer, Superintendent Peña, had told me that a school would have to be perfect to receive that grade. I don’t know that we are perfect, but for those two days last week I saw the best teaching and learning in my life. In her report, Ms. Peña wrote that our staff “understands and addresses the academic, social and emotional needs of students and supports their capacity to learn” and that our “students show great enthusiasm for learning.”
It was inspiring to see how hard everyone worked for this rating in the days before and during the actual review. I think students at LoMA are usually engaged in their classwork and that our teachers generally come up with interesting, creative lessons. Last week, however, everyone was incredibly focused and determined. I saw the most amazing lessons and every single student was thoughtfully and actively involved in their experiments, artwork and readings. Cell phones were put away, students were very respectful and a huge amount of learning was accomplished.
I think that the difference was that everyone cared even more last week than they normally do. With the pressure of being observed and rated, teachers, students and support staff worked even harder and more thoughtfully than ever. Together they showed what an awesome school we could be everyday when we cared enough. Freshmen really could sit still and keep their focus, juniors could read difficult passages on their own and sophomores could complete complex labs cooperatively. The difference between a good day at school and a great day was not in ability level, maturity or class composition; it was in how much we all cared to succeed.
The question now is how do we take this knowledge and apply it every day. LoMA generally looks good, because we do care. Just think of how much more we can accomplish in school, in the arts and in life if we all cared just a bit more cared about our homework, what we did in class, about our friends. We need to care that we each work to our fullest potential every day. Our LoMA family showed last week that we can accomplish the impossible if we care enough. Let’s keep that spirit going in everything that we do all year long.