OK, well really this page is the Walker School Mission Statement - plus a whole lot of rambling from me!
^^^^^^ We're on a Mission! ^^^^^^
The Lulu Walker Elementary School Mission
Lulu Walker Elementary is committed to educational excellence and the empowerment of students to achieve their highest potential academically, socially, and emotionally.
At Walker Elementary, we prepare all students to become lifelong learners and productive citizens.
A Culture for Learning with an Emphasis on the Individual Student
Lulu Walker’s culture exhibits a shared sense of pride through a safe, caring environment and respect for diversity. Walker’s exemplary learning community promotes a wide range of support and enrichment opportunities, which foster an array of experiences to discover and build individual strengths.
Our instruction and high expectations stimulate intellectual curiosity, reflect best practice, and elevate student engagement and achievement. We strive to guide our students in accepting responsibility and to be actively engaged in their learning, decisions, and actions. We recognize and accommodate individual differences, interests, and abilities through a variety of assessments, curriculum, and technology. We honor and support the emotional well-being of each member of our community.
My thoughts about that...
My colleagues at Walker and I sat together to create the above Mission Statement. We hashed out every word - our deeply held beliefs about children and our role in their lives made for a powerful dialogue. The strength of our convictions, the responsibility we feel, the height of our goals, and our eagerness to tackle it all created a tremendous energy in the room. You can feel that energy every day in every room in this school. We really believe in what we're doing and we love this job.
For me, the word empower is key. I'm here to empower children - that is, I try to enhance their power to be confident and happy in achieving their highest potential - intellectually, socially, and emotionally. I strive to lay the groundwork which will allow them to live as healthy adults capable of taking increasing charge of their own lives as they mature while at the same time building and maintaining a strong network of healthy relationships with others. I hope to create an atmosphere in which their thirst for knowledge will expand exponentially and their love of learning will flourish forever. I believe in a positive learning environment where the expectations are high, individualized, and achievable and every child feels special and loved. From the way I arrange my classroom furniture to the silly things I do to grab the kids' attention, from the simple rules we have to keep everyone safe and secure to the high expectations I have for their academic work, my students know that I believe in them.
Okay, that's all pretty lofty
and there's a lot I need to do in order to achieve that goal.
So what do I actually do all day?
I give my students my full attention so that they know how much I value them. My words and actions are chosen to instill high self-esteem and emotional security in each child. I let them know that everyone makes mistakes and that we learn from our mistakes (I model that all too often, thank you very much!). I try to create a positive, nurturing atmosphere to develop confident, creative, thinking individuals. I work hard to earn their trust, and I freely give them my own trust. It's easy to show them how much I love them.
I model the kindness I want them to show to each other, the patience I want them to have in dealing with frustrations, and the love of learning I want them to share. I work to provide a safe, structured, consistent, and positive environment in which children can thrive. I joke around, sing silly songs, and make things exciting because I believe that kids who are having fun are far more engaged in learning than kids who are not. Puppets make counting by tens fun, sign language makes learning letter sounds fun, songs make learning the days of the week and months of the year fun, putting on a show makes learning the history of Thanksgiving fun - I try to find fun ways to teach everything. Happiness is contagious and happy kids who feel good about themselves want to learn more and more and more.
I try to give children a myriad of opportunities to be creative and to make their own decisions - and I watch over each decision carefully and discuss the process with them. The more practice they have at making decisions now, the better the decisions they will make later in their lives. I also allow them to do as much for themselves as possible. They find so much delight in discovering that they can staple their own book, tape a ripped paper, operate a clothespin, spell a new word, put on their own bandaid, read their own directions, tie their own shoelaces, and so many other things. Nothing builds confidence more effectively than actual success and I, personally, can't top the joy of helping children discover their own abilities! I love hearing the exuberant words "I did it all by myself!"
While giving children the opportunity for personal accomplishments, I shower my students with encouragement and sincere, specific praise to foster self-confidence and inner satisfaction. Did you know that there's research that shows that praise and encouragement stimulate the growth of neuronal connections in the brain? All I know is that childhood should be filled with love and loving words to help build a lifetime of inner happiness.
I give children jobs and teach them to be part of our team. Every child should feel needed and have a core sense of belonging with others depending on them. Having responsibilities helps strengthen a child's integrity, self-value, and interactions in their community, as well as helping a child learn that other people's needs are as important as their own. I want each child to move confidently into the world, and reach out to others in a spirit of good will and camaraderie. No one - at any age - should feel like an outsider in our society.
Parents are a child's first and true teacher and I consider myself their partner in educating their child. Getting to know parents is one of the perks of the job, and I like making new friends! I invite parents to come in and join us every chance they have and to enjoy our school functions. Families are invited to our many class presentations, field trips, and all of our school events, as well as to help in the classroom any time they wish. My door is always open. In addition, I send a weekly update on our skills, activities, and special events in order to provide much information as possible. Children benefit the most when we're all "on the same page" and communication is key. The other thing parents should know... there will never come a time when I will stop caring about your child - no matter how old we all get. My door will always be open to you and your child. Always. But I tend to get all sappy when a former student stops by so bring tissues, okay?