Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

This week, I shared a brief article with our Hudson Middle School staff called Milestones of Caring. There were several insights I gained from reading what the authors had to say about the importance of developing a strong "ethos" of caring in these middle years.

* A successful middle level education depends on building successful, empathetic relationships among ALL members of the learning community.
* A focus on CARING helps us transform indifference, ignorance, and disdain into curiosity, interconnectedness, and conceptual understanding.
* The impact of CARING is powerful enough to turn mere superficial platitudes into ambitious action and genuine concern for multiple perspectives.
* An "expansion of caring" is critical during unstable, emergent and ever-shifting developmental stages and begins with "bold and ambitious questions," and does not come in predictable, organized or even intentional bursts, but often arrives with serendipitous and chaotic surprise in our lives.
* A sense of caring disrupts our certainty and our complacency and grows from "intentional reflection" on an experience, an observation, an event, an interchange, or an idea.

The authors suggest we adults contemplate how we became caring people. What memories evoke recollections of caring for us? As parents and educators, we take on many roles - trailblazers, advocates, teammates, questioners, visionaries, guides, and inspirers. "Critical" and courageous conversations in these roles, where we listen to others, process and consider ideas different from our own, and acknowledge our biases and assumptions help us and the children with whom we work develop the strong sense of CARE critical to our HMS Mission:

HMS Learners understand, challenge and support each other to be caring, capable and creative contributors.

Special thanks to our parent chaperones for our sixth grade MN Zoo trips this past week. While visiting the bear exhibit with students, one of the chaperones shared a MN Zoo volunteer asked that she relay back to our Hudson Middle School learning community what a GREAT group of kids we have! She said staff and volunteers noticed how respectful and kind they were during their visit to the zoo. Thank you to our students, staff and families for leaving such a positive impression!

With a grateful heart,

Mrs. Ann Mitchell

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