Today, I start my blog by describing the end of my visit to Aboite Elementary School. I had already bonded with the incredibly personable office staff earlier in the morning, so I felt comfortable chatting with them when I signed out. I told them that Aboite was one of the schools I regretted having to leave. I often encounter schools that have a certain “je ne sais quoi” that makes me want to stay. Usually, it is hard to identify one attribute that makes a school so welcoming. At Aboite, however, I have no doubt that it was the staff’s personalities that made a difference. Energetic educators with bright, welcoming smiles greeted me at every turn. As my eyes shifted from the teachers’ smiles to the children’s faces, it occurred to me that students are usually mirrors of their teachers. Not only were the children smiling, but they also treated each other with incredible respect. Obviously, the students learned about that respect by watching their teachers. Without a doubt, the climate of the entire school reflected the character of the adults in the building. In keeping with this theme, let’s consider a famous quote that is particularly appropriate today.
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Today, as we set aside time to celebrate the work of Dr. King, I rejoice in the ability of the teachers at Aboite Elementary School to accomplish this goal. The students at Aboite are obviously intelligent, but the teachers continue to challenge them by requiring them to think intensively and critically. Add to that the already clear commitment to modeling upright character, and you end up with a school that invites you to stay a little longer. I hope I can visit you again, Aboite Elementary School, today I celebrate you!