Be a positive difference maker!
Dr. Stephanie Ware is the principal of Walkersville High School. I was copied on an email from Dr. Keith Harris, Executive Director of Accelerating Achievement and Equity to Dr. Ware after he met with a student who was dealing with a variety of challenges at home and in school. The student’s feedback resonated with Dr. Harris and he sent a message of praise to Dr. Ware. With their permission, I share that message below:
"This student talked about the fact that he is trying to grow from his past image, but adults still respond to him based on who he was, not who he is now and is striving to become. Adults, except you. This student talked very specifically about how you have taken the time to get to know him, how you invest time in seeing past the shell he presents with to see his true motivation and intent towards goodness. This student talked about how you spend just a few minutes to see how he is doing with genuine interest about his well being. The student indicated, it doesn't take much, but the little that you do has a great impact on his willingness and desire to engage in school. This student realizes that he makes mistakes, slips up, and on a recent occasion, deserved discipline. However, unlike with others, every interaction with you is a chance for him to start again. You don't view or treat him, as a habit, based on his past behavior but as a student with potential. These are not my sentiments. I don't know this student well. I just met him today. But I do know a genuine heart. And today, he spoke in a real genuine manner about the positive impact you have on his engagement in school.
[Dr. Ware], this is what our cultural proficiency journey is all about. You don't have to be of a certain demographic to reach students who are of a different demographic than you. It was clear, through the conversation with this student, that you have a true understanding of the multiple layers of diversity, and use this to meet the needs of your students. I am so glad my path crossed paths with this student. Not only did he give me great feedback on things we need to do as a system to make it a better place for each and every student, regardless of individual student identifiers, but this student allowed me the opportunity to pause and reflect on the great work an administrator does each and every day to aspire to greatness, beyond academics, but in life.
You have a powerful presence at Walkersville High, one that is going to help so many students in a community of growing diversity. Way to go! Keep doing what you're doing! You are making a difference!"
This power lies in all of us! Be a positive difference maker!