Being Semi-Brave and still making it to soccer practice…..
“Where is the revolution for the semi-brave person who's got to pick the kids up by 4:00?”
This is the question Cornelius Minor, author of “We Got This,” delves into on a recent Heinemann podcast. As parents, we are overwhelmed with all of the pressures of raising children in this high-stakes world--an ever-changing landscape that we may not have had to navigate as students. Minor goes on to say “I look at the hours in my day, and I've only got 24, but then I've got work enough for 36.” How do we find the time to be BRAVE when we barely have time to make dinner? Minor asserts, “I don't think I live my day as a brave person. I think I have these windows of brave where when the world really calls upon me to do a thing that needs doing, I stand up, and I do the thing.”
Here’s a crazy thought: What if we all did one brave thing?
Let’s replace the age-old after school question “How was your day today?” with “How were you brave today?” And when our kids turn that around and ask us the same thing, Let’s have an answer. Bravery is a “default setting” at The Conservatory School. We ask our students to try new things, be bold, and put themselves out there. We help them celebrate what they have learned from failure and apply it to new ventures. We give them space to seek out their passions and dive into them. We need our parent community to do the same. That can be scary, but Minor breaks it down this way: “I don't think any one of us is actually brave. I think that brave exists in units of time, that I don't think brave is an adjective that describes a person. I think that brave is an adjective that describes windows of time.” He goes on to advise communities how to act in those brave windows of time by answering 2 questions:
1. What priorities can be influenced right away?
2. What learning can I do to fight a bigger fight next time?
Right now, The Conservatory School is listed on the Palm Beach School District Capacity Watch list (we are at 146% capacity) The district has a number of options available to remedy this issue including choice program changes or boundary shifts that would drastically change the culture and community of our school. We have grown exponentially in the past several years, because of our music program, project-based learning, inquiry work and a school culture that breeds excellence and opportunity for all students. We don’t think the answer is limiting access to opportunity, but rather, increasing it. It isn’t time to contract, it is time to expand. This is our window.
We want our children to have space to grow. We want them to be able to keep playing the music they learned to love here, having the chance to continue mastering an instrument and being part of a band or orchestra. We dream of a student-centered, inquiry based program that will continue past elementary and middle school and into high school where students can truly start to see where their voice will resonate as they become young adults that contribute in our community. We wish for a school built around project-based learning that will continue to give them hands-on experiences to build the skills to collaborate and think critically. We have seen these seeds sown in our children, and we have the audacity to demand that they are allowed to keep growing in a place like The Conservatory School, from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Pictured above, 1st grade students collaborate in an inquiry based setting finding their voice in the classroom. 3rd grade students show their mastery of knowledge at exhibition, sharing their deeper learning with other students, parents and the community. Middle school students have open discussions at the harkness table, tackling relevant topics and establishing their agency. TCSMI high school students enjoy an outdoor, hands-on marine science lab--this is what the progression of an inquiry based, deeper learning, student-centered environment looked like at TCS at the beginning of the 2018 school year. There is so much bravery in each of those moments.
Will you be brave with us in THIS moment? Will you write a letter, attend a meeting, or invite another parent to join our conversation to support The Conservatory High School? Will you talk with your students about what they want their future education to look like? Will you help us sponsor professional development for teachers and parents provide our school community with the learning to tackle the next big challenge (HINT, HINT, WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE CORNELIUS MINOR SPEAK AT OUR SCHOOL) Will you support your teachers as they make decisions for the WHOLE child, balancing rich, hands-on, non-traditional experiences with the overwhelming testing requirements that are mandated? Each one of these is a moment in time where we can make the choice to be brave….and still pick up the kids from soccer.
Cornelius Minor inspires us with his own philosophy of brave when he reminds us that he is “practicing bravery in four, six, eight second increments, that again, I don't have to be at the head of every movement if I am the first to make the right decision in a classroom.” Let’s go make some “first right decisions” together.
To get involved and find out more about our journey to build The Conservatory High School, subscribe to TCS Parent Connect or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org To listen to the Cornelius Minor podcast in its entirety, CLICK BELOW: