This post is dedicated to my fellow dreamer and person who organizes my crazy, messy thinking. Amanda Picard, thank you for being my other school half…for having strengths that balance me as a leader, for always listening, for laughing with me, and for leading with me. I love you!
When I was a little girl, I had some very big dreams. I wanted to be the next Wonder Woman after Linda Carter retired. I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader while I went to college. I dreamed of being a teacher and having my own classroom, and my own chalkboard to write whatever I wanted on it. One out of three is not bad, huh? Wonder Woman didn’t work out because my love for teaching took over. The cheerleader thing didn’t work out because I couldn’t stand the thought of moving away from home. When I was little, all three were equally important. As I grew more mature and began to listen to my heart, I knew without a doubt the other two dreams were temporary. Even I had achieved them, they would have been stepping stones to lead me to my passion, which is education.
Everything happens for a reason, but what if we didn’t dream? Will things pan out the way they are supposed to? Will we become who we are meant to be, or settle for status quo? Those are DEEP reflection questions I have asked myself lately. I often wonder if there are times in my life where I became so busy with day to day routines that I forgot to pause, reflect, and just DREAM. I have learned recently that there are times when we must dream intentionally. We need to carve out the time and push everything else aside. This is exactly what we did as a school family in early June, to begin thinking about our future at Central Elementary. We made time to simply dream, and to dream BIG. My partner in crime (AKA assistant lead learner) began the organization of this incredible opportunity to do nothing for a day but…DREAM.
When the day was first shared with staff for sign up, I was nervous. I kept thinking, “What are we doing? We have been out of school for 2 weeks and already asking them if they would like to come back for a day to DREAM. They are going to think we (my assistant and I) are crazy.” I then began to wonder if we would have very many attend. After all, it was summer! Just two weeks before we were all exhausted and winding down the school year, ready for a reprieve. By the time the Dream BIG day rolled around, there were over 25 staff signed up, and all they had to bring with them was something to drink, a favorite quote, and their dreams!
The morning began with our favorite cereals from childhood…after all we were preparing ourselves to dream without the limits we know of as adults! We moved to vision board creation, and it was during that reflection time that dreams became visual for us…as individuals and as a school. We committed to learn new things, to learn from each other, to invest in our entire school and our own space/classroom.
Our tribe split into different teams that combined like interests, talents, and passions in the afternoon, and plans were activated! By the end of the day we had come up with ways to communicate our brand, including a new logo with our school’s vision. We also designated #CEtribe as a learning hashtag for our school family to post resources and celebrate each other. We had a staff shirt design, our kids’ shirt design, and plans to make visual improvements throughout our school. We established ways to increase leadership and voice within our kids, and to increase communication about our school. At the end of the day, all I could say was… “WOW”.
Many months have passed since that important day, and I have watched plans and dreams come to fruition. I have seen teachers learning new things for their students, and share that learning with their tribe. I have seen teachers working in their classrooms to recreate their learning environment so it is the best it can be for kids. I have seen teachers observing other teachers and validating their peers, while learning from them. I have watched staff paint walls, clean, move furniture, and help new teachers. Teachers have contributed to a colllaborative Dream BIG Pinterest board to add ideas for helping our school look and feel welcoming and express our beliefs for all who enter. We found a way to restructure our cafe to make it more restaurant style, adding round tables and chairs, along with our restaruant rules. I have seen our halls covered with student work that expresses their voices and creativity. I have seen new technology implemented, such as 3D printing, Google Classroom, Buncee, and more!
Almost everything new that happened so far this school year, goes back to the day that one tribe sat down to dream BIG together. Wow. So much came out of that one day, and all we did to make things begin to happen was DREAM.
We have so much more we need to accomplish at Central Elementary. We still have dreams that are yet to become reality. Some of them may take years to unfold, because they are really BIG dreams. Each day we get one step closer, and we will continue to evolve, learn, grow, and DREAM together.