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Principal's Perspective

Principal's Perspective - December 2017

I am truly inspired by those with whom I am surrounded each day. This evening, as an audience member, I sat transfixed upon the church sanctuary, spellbound by the melodic holiday voices of the Laurel Hall elementary students. Truthfully, I shed a tear of joy or two as I enjoyed a heartwarming Christmas performance. When I arrived home, I found my way to the den and retrieved a copy of some memoirs I had written over the years. Tonight’s performance and these marvelous children inspired me to share one of those stories with you. It is a Christmas reflection that I penned after a seemingly random set of events, while shopping during the holiday season. Pulling into a store parking lot last week, I came upon a disheveled soul with outstretched hands and shattered hope. As usual, I did what I most often do. I ignored this particular beggar, lest he be operating some sort of holiday scam. So, I callously drove by him, parked, and entered the store to finish off a growing and…

Principal's Perspective - November 2017

The other day, a scroll was slid under my door. In the safety and comfort of my secure office, I carefully began to read: “General Washington, it appears that recent attempts to kidnap and poison you have failed. Thanks to your direction and the bravery and dedication of the Patriot spy ring, the Hessians’ plot has been exposed and contained. The British have been defeated at the Battle of Yorktown and Patriot victory is at hand. The mission has been successfully completed. It has been a pleasure serving under your command. In the words of John Dickinson – ‘then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, dividing we fall.’ Until Next Time, The Culper Spy Ring (Agent Z)”

Principal's Perspective - October 2017

It is always the little, seemingly obscure moments, that reinforce my decision to have pursued a life of teaching and learning. The other night, while sitting at the kitchen table for hours upon hours helping my seventeen-year old daughters prepare for the upcoming SAT, an email arrived. I must admit, spending the whole day at school, then tutoring my kids all night was a bit exhausting. That is, until I read the email. Dear Mr. Guidetti - I am Graysen, from 5th grade. We met at lunch once or twice. I am very concerned about my recent discovery of the new guideline saying that we cannot wear our Halloween costumes to school. Now, Halloween is my favorite time of year. I get to spend time with my friends, trick-or-treating, jabbering about our awesome and silly costumes, and so much more. So, even though this is on short notice, please consider changing that guideline. For the sake of me, my friends, and, heck, the whole school! I have seen that most kids enjoy it. If you are mostly…

Principal's Perspective - September 2017

Greetings. The time has come for us to create a majestic experience for kids. For the past two months, we have been busy preparing for the arrival of the new school year. I am certain that the fruits of our labor will yield prosperity, so long as we exist in a culture of reflection and collaboration - the focus of our staff training and the message in which I will engage any adult who has influence on our children. To achieve our goals, we must be ever mindful of what interferes with teaching and learning. Mindfulness is a framework that we, like so many other successful schools, have adopted. It is the process by which we clear intra and interpersonal clutter to nurture a growth-mindset, and ensure every moment of every day is filled with positive academic, emotional and spiritual development. I once heard a teacher reflecting on his own practice. He said, “I cannot ever allow myself to be resentful of a child’s proficiency level.” He continued, “When I consciously take a…

Principal's Perspective - August 2017

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve students and families as principal of Laurel Hall School. I want to begin our relationship by sharing a recent personal, heartwarming story. I received a Facebook message from a woman named Megan. As soon as her name appeared, though I never knew her as an adult, I immediately recalled the moment we met, and the last time I ever saw her - twenty-five years ago, after her most proud moment in her short ten-year-old life - fifth grade culmination. I remember she was the last to leave campus that afternoon, holding her mother’s hand, beaming as she began to leave, before abruptly stopping to turn and give her favorite teacher a hug – a hug which would leave an indelible mark for the next quarter century. Likewise, when I first met Megan, she was arriving to her first day of school, also clutching her mother’s hand, grinning from ear to ear, though secretly terrified that her cerebral palsy and near complete blindness in one eye would…
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