Sunday, February 18, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine and Breakfast with the Principal

On Friday I attended a fifth-grade Breakfast with the Principal. At my daughter's public school, the principal hosts two breakfasts a year, the first at the start of the school year and the second halfway through. I usually try to make the breakfasts because they’re not like other school meetings. They’re not as formal as Local School Council (LSC) meetings or as busy as Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) meetings. They're not like Report Card Pick Up Day or Open House gatherings. At these breakfasts—and this is my twelfth—we can push aside school business for an hour if we choose.

We chose to do just that on Friday, and the other six moms and I listened to our principal reflect on her life and career and her vision for the school. She gave us her specific philosophy of building respect between students and teachers. She explained a new tactic for math class. Then she listened as we talked about why we might allow our kids to watch a movie like Little Miss Sunshine or a TV show like The Simpsons. We talked about Sex Ed (because fifth grade is the year for that) and early-onset puberty. We shared our frustrations with the war in Iraq. We discussed how our children view that war, how they interpret the modern world, what motivates them, and what we learn from them.

In short, we had an adult conversation.

I believe this is what’s missing from many public schools today.

So I applaud this principal, who continues to invite parents in for a chat when she could very easily choose not to. And I admire her for helping me to remember—year after year—that it's important to slow down and listen to each other once in awhile.

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