Dear Zaharis Families,
Around the holiday season, everyone seems to have a little extra bounce in their step. We seem to be a little more kind to even our casual contacts—I think of the clerk at the QT near my home—we seem to move beyond “small talk” this time of year.
But life at Zaharis doesn’t seem to go through a seasonal transformation from my vantage point. Teachers and children learn with joyful countenances year round—a sort of “vibe” that even first-time visitors pick-up on.
Rigor. Rigor is an educational buzz-word that is part of almost every conversation that revolves around school quality and improvement. Many school-people and policy-makers equate rigor with three hours of homework each night with an endless supply of worksheets and test preparation during the school day. At Zaharis, we don’t believe that rigor simply means more work. It’s not enough to be busy. Heck, we’re all busy. The question is, what are we being busy about?
At Zaharis, we’re busy about critical thinking. We’re busy about doing work that MATTERS. The kind of work that you can plug into the world where it belongs. The kind of work that readers, writers, and mathematicians outside of school engage in. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that rigor cannot exist if a child is learning with a smile on his or her face. Rigor doesn’t have to be painful. On the contrary—we are all willing to work really hard in life if what were asked to do has meaning and value to us.
At Zaharis, we learn with smiles because our work is purposeful, intentional, deliberate and exciting! I firmly believe that if you love what you’re good at, you’ll never work another day in your life. The residents of this school community are good at what they do—tall and small alike.
I walk a little taller because I am part of their world.