This morning I watched Max in the hall with a kindergarten student on a “body break.” As he does dozens of times a week, Max created a fun activity – in this case, “Arms out, spin like a helicopter, now fly down the hall, now slow down and land, lower, lower, chopper blades back down at your side…” The student and I were equally mesmerized by Max’s positive energy and creativity. He expertly gave the student both the stimulation and the regulation that he needed to be able to rejoin the class.
After lunch, Kathleen came to my office with concerns about a few of the students in the lunchroom today. She told me about their behavior, but also their history, their connection and conflict patterns with other students, and the way she had lovingly guided the students to understand their actions and impact. Last week we celebrated Kathleen’s 27th year of inspiring and co-creating our MLK celebration, but I wish you also had the honor of seeing her daily transform the lunchroom into yet another place of learning and family.
At various times today I watched Helen do literacy pull-outs with small groups of students from each grade. Whether crowded around the table in her tiny room or walking them back to their classes, she has a palpable connection with every student. She somehow generates regular laughter and true camaraderie despite the hard, hard work of learning to decode the written word, and her obvious expertise at literacy education shines through when she speaks to parents or colleagues about how to meet each student’s unique needs and strengths.
On my way out the door at 6pm, I was drawn into the gym by the siren’s call of the referee’s whistle. Max was still at work, this time in his role as athletic director, making sure all went well with the 5/6 basketball game. Max’s roommate was coaching. The scoreboard said 22-10, but because the coach was well-versed in the Friends School culture, I could not discern from the exuberance and concentration on each player’s face which team was up or down. They were playing for the love of playing – a love that Max models on his own Quidditch team and every day at the school.
These are just four examples from three people from one day. I could give similar stories about each and every one of our dedicated staff members who support and enliven our school in many, often unsung ways every day. So next time you see Amber, Andrea, Becka, Christian, Jill, Travis, Kathleen, Helen, Chris, and of course Max, please take a moment to watch the quiet and graceful ways they lift up our students.