Dear Willamette families,
I hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall weather. It was wonderful to see so many of you during conferences over this past week. This is one of my favorite times of the year, as we come together to plan for a year of great growth for your child. Our teachers work incredibly hard in preparing for these conferences, by getting to know who your child is as a learner and a member of our community. In the many conversations I had with families during this week, I know their hard work was evident to you as well.
One of our school goals is for all families to attend their child's conference so every child and family feels known, connected, and included at Willamette. One of the many reasons I am grateful to be a part of this community is our collective work in building an inclusive culture, where every child and family belongs. 30 years of educational research has shown that all students do better in inclusive settings. We create our inclusive school community through our intentional focus on 7 key components:
Effective physical spaces to accommodate all of our students
Teaching common expectations to ensure consistency throughout our school
Engagement strategies to effectively support student access to their learning
Teaching social-emotional skills explicitly, just as we would do with any discipline
Relationships with high expectations for each child's success
Routines, rituals and recognition embedded within our classroom communities
Restorative practices to proactively build connections and respond to harm when it occurs
All of our students come to school to be learners, explorers, and community members. Their learning is often about developing academic skills; math, writing, reading, science. A child's ability to learn is influenced by their social-emotional skills, their understanding of self and others that allows them to act and interact in ways that are safe and show empathy and care for others. I know each of us wants our child's school experience to support their academic growth, as well as their social and emotional growth. We want our children to be strong readers and kind to others. We want our students to be confident writers and build healthy friendships. We want our students to love the language of mathematics and care for others in their community. Our staff continually spends time discussing the importance of social-emotional learning for each of our students, knowing the importance of this area for our children's growth as learners and community members. Our collective commitment to an inclusive culture within our school is one of the many reasons I am so thankful to a part of such a wonderful school community. If you would like more information regarding our our work with creating an inclusive school community, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
On a related note, I would like to thank the many families who provided lunch and dinner during this week for our staff. As one of our teachers shared, "We all appreciate all the work it takes to coordinate all of the extra things you do to take care of us. Thank you for making Willamette such a wonderful place to be!" I couldn't agree more- thank you!
Willamette Primary School