October 20th was Unity Day, a day to be united for a kinder, more accepting, and inclusive world. We wore orange throughout our district, a bold color reminder that schools are places where we strive to be an oasis for all to thrive in learning and working. How do we get there? What are our Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities?
Our strengths lie in our desire to teach, learn, and be curious--children and adults alike. Our desire to be a MUSD community for our learners is a strength.
The inability to be in person as freely as we were prior to this global disaster is a weakness. Inexperience in ciphering through social media and virtual communication applications are as well. Our students in transitional grades from middle to high school missed the opportunity to be physically present at school. They missed out on an aspect of discovering their voice in community.
While social media provides all of us the opportunity to build a sense of belonging, it also risks creating a social environment that is two dimensional--without physical presence we miss communication cues such as tone, facial expressions, and body language. While virtual communication through visual platforms does provide some of this, it misses the unspoken communication and connection to another person that our presence provides.
Communication through social media platforms can be a threat as it has a propensity for one to slip into a mindset of disregard for how our words impact another. It seems to embolden the use of accusatory language rather than seeking to understand another’s viewpoint or context. Ironically, while the internet allows us to discover friendship across the globe, it can also threaten our sense of security.
Connection is an essential factor in building resiliency as are purpose, flexibility, and hope. Re-centering on our MUSD vision, so that we might enable our learners to realize their own purpose moves us forward. Modeling flexibility allows us all to find ways to develop strategies that benefit us in our purpose. Hope nourishes us when our energies are depleted. We have the opportunity to support resiliency through inclusion and empathy for one another. We have the opportunity to move forward in ways that multiply ingenuity and creativity for all learners.