It seems like it was not too long ago that we were greeting families as they came to Meet the Designer Night. I recall feeling nervous that evening because our school was new to EVERYONE. It was obvious parents were concerned about the open concept, new teachers, academics, and the new principal....Here we are, 26 weeks later, and it is Open House! This time, I was not filled with nervousness, but excitement. Excitement to see our learners proudly share their learning, excitement to showcase the designers who make it happen each day, excitement to get feedback from our parents about how we are doing.
The day was a blur of meetings, but I kept remembering a wise woman's advice from the beginning of the year. She reminded me to make time to "take it all in." It is a rare opportunity to open a brand new school, and this year is a year of MANY firsts that I should be mindful to appreciate. I am so happy I took two hours before parents arrived to "wall walk" the building. I saw some designers scrambling to tend to last minute preparations, and wondered if they thought I was walking around micromanaging them or overseeing them. This wasn't the case, at all!!!! I truly was taking it all in. Just like a parent, I was attending Open House for my baby. Opening a school is like birthing a baby, right? Looking around every turn of the building, I saw evidence of learning on walls and windows; in journals and jars; on strings, timelines, number lines and posters; through art, photographs and QR codes. I SAW IT EVERYWHERE. It was even in our garden with the blossoming tulips! How could I not be overcome with pride??
As we welcomed the families that were lined up outside the front doors, That nervousness I felt earlier in the year was replaced with pride. I was able to stand with a level of confidence that I hadn't experienced before. To begin with, these families were no longer strangers, they were my FamiLEE. I could share personal observations, experiences, and comments about many of our learners with their parents. Secondly, and what I found to be most profound, was the pride and confidence that came from having the entire building exude EXACTLY what we do EVERY DAY at Lee. Yes, there was more on "display," but it displayed what life in the day of a Lee learner honestly looks like. How awesome is THAT?
Speaking of awesome...how awesome is it that Mr. Lee could be there for our first Open House? (Thank you, Todd!)
How awesome do you think it was to have parents GUSH about the school as a whole: the designers... the facility... the rigor... our administration... the technology... the communication... how happy their kids are to come to school.... the challenges... the list goes on! How awesome is getting hugged on from all sides and photographed from every angle? Am I a movie star? Should I sign autographs? These, too, are moments that are burned in my memory from this night.
Then, I get in my car when Open House winds down, check Twitter, and the song that is playing on the radio is, "No Place I'd Rather Be." All I could think is THERE IS NO PLACE I WOULD RATHER BE and NO BETTER PEOPLE I WOULD RATHER BE ON THIS JOURNEY WITH. We all know I am not a parent. I probably won't get the chance to send my own child off on their two wheeler without training wheels. But you know what is cool? I feel like (in my own way) tonight I got to experience what parenthood might feel like. I am forever grateful to experience this with YOU! Thank you for all of your hard work, your effort, your talent, your time, and your commitment, Lee Staff. Keep pedaling this last nine weeks. The training wheels are off, and we are on the ride of our life!