Sunday, November 18, 2012

What I am thankful for, BVP style...

At BVP we take the full week of Thanksgiving off as a fall break.  The genesis of this week off comes from my wife who had the whole week off when she taught at KIPP Bronx.  We pitched it here at BVP and have been doing it from the beginning.  

Last year we surveyed the staff about how to make BVP better.  We asked a ton of questions - one was should we come in Monday-Wednesday of Thanksgiving week like most area schools.  This was the only survey question with near universal agreement - so we have elected to keep the week off.  

Even though there's no school this week, there are lots of things happening at BVP.  Teachers are busy catching up on grading and revising curricular plans, leaders are revising schedules and interventions to best meet the needs of our young people, the middle school is receiving hundreds of holiday pies for their fundraiser, and the network team is overseeing a few classroom moves and conducting family outreach for the 13-14 lottery.  Scholars, meanwhile, have pretty significant homework packs - keeping their brains engaged as much as possible.  

Each year when I welcome new families to BVP, I make some version of this statement:
Welcome to BVP.  We are crazy.  All of us, parents, teachers, leaders, scholars, will work harder than we ever have before.  We are going to keep your scholar busy during the day and at night and over the holidays with hard work. You have "won" the lottery to be here.  Now go home and turn off your cable and sell your TV on craigslist.  Be thankful, you  don't need that stuff don't have time.
And it is with that, that I share with you this year's quick list of what I am thankful for this year:

  • Amazing teachers
  • Dedicated teachers
  • Skillful teachers
  • Empathetic teachers
  • Smart teachers
  • Crazy teachers
  • Fun teachers
  • Those who support and lead the aforementioned teachers
  • Incredibly talented, creative, and mission-aligned network team members
  • The 700+ families who trust BVP with their children
  • Commissioner Gist's recovery and imminent return
  • Rhode Island College's partnership and leadership especially President Carriuolo and Dean Sidorkin
  • The growing urgency to improve public education here in RI and around the country
  • Teach for America
  • The Principal Residency Network for training our leaders
  • The Board of Regents for approving Achievement First
  • RI-CAN
  • Achievement First for joining the Rhode Island education space
  • Data - all kinds of data:  ANet, STEP, STAR, formative assessments
  • Eli Broad
  • Central Falls District-Charter Compact
  • KIPP Leadership Design Fellowship
  • Generosity of BVP staff and families
  • RIMA
  • Bristol County Savings
  • Walton Family Foundation
  • The whole Sodexo crew
  • The BVP Board
  • Family Leadership Council (especially when they cook!)
  • Violins
  • Last minute trips to New Hampshire to see POTUS
Happy Thanksgiving!

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