Deconstructing Our Mission: Part 2

Our Mission 

To provide an academically challenging and supportive environment where students gain the knowledge and skills needed to become globally minded citizens with a passion for life and learning. 

Traditionally, school has been about basic reading, writing, and arithmetic–basic skills that are fantastic to know, but, well, basic!  At TFS, we aim bigger, broader and higher.  We aim to empower children with the knowledge and skills they need to enjoy and contribute to a meaningful life in the 21st century (more on 21st century skills later in our philosophy).  We want them to read, write and compute, but we want them to know how to travel, how to talk to people they don’t know, and how to identify and leverage their own strengths.

Dr. Montessori talked about students gradually finding their place in the world as their world grows from mom and dad, to home, to school, to community, and beyond.  When children have a strong sense of place in the world, they are more confident to approach and interact with the world around them. With a wide range of skills and information in their pockets and a strong sense of who and where they are, they are ready to create a more meaningful life for themselves.

At TFS, we want to be more than collegepreparatoryWe want to be lifepreparatory.  

Deconstructing Our Mission

The last time I posted on this blog was March 2020.
Then the pandemic hit.
Followed by a really challenging and tiring in-person school year.
Today we find ourselves at the start of the 2021-22 school year, in person and feeling more like “normal.”
I am going to kick off my blog by discussing our mission. There are reasons behind everything we do at The Fulton School, and I want to share some of that with you.  Let’s dive right in:

Our Mission – Part 1

To provide an academically challenging and supportive environment where students gain the knowledge and skills needed to become globally minded citizens with a passion for life and learning. 

I talk about our mission a lot at the start of every school year, but there’s always more to say about such an important (and huge) topic.  Challenge is a relative term.  Each of us finds challenges in different places depending on our strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Picture a bull’s-eye with a Comfort Zone in the middle, the Challenge Zone in the next concentric circle, and a Panic Zone as you move towards an outer circle — this is how we approach your child.

There’s little growth in the Comfort Zone and there’s little growth in the Panic Zone.  In order to teach students in their Challenge Zone, you have to know them well.  If they are bored, or counter-intuitively overwhelmed, they don’t grow to their potential.  This is true in academic subjects like math and reading, but it’s also true in their character growth, in their social-emotional growth, and in the broad range of skills we hope they will develop.

It can be tough to watch a student in the Challenge Zone. We provide support by watching closely (to make sure we don’t think they are in the Panic Zone) and encouraging them.  We make sure they have the materials and supplies and preparation for their challenges.  We partner with parents to discuss what we both see — at school and at home — and we create a support network for the student through this partnership.  This is a process; it’s organic and there are a lot of variables.  But it’s always our mission.