In the Neighborhood
Just this past Friday, I was privileged to speak to the local chapter of Church Women United as they celebrated their annual scholarship program. As is becoming my custom when I speak in these settings, I found several opportunities to extol the virtues of our school, our students, our teachers, and our mission.
At this particular meeting, I shared about our incredible advantage of being situated at what I like to call “the most exciting intersection for education in the nation’s third largest city.” I then looked at my audience and asked this question: "If there weren’t anything here at the corner of Main and Bissonnet . . . no Church, no buildings, nothing, wouldn’t you build a school here? Across the street from a world-class museum complex . . . next door to a nationally recognized art school . . . a light rail ride from one of the world’s finest medical centers . . . wouldn’t you build a school right here?"
The answer, of course, is that you certainly would build a school here, and thank goodness we did 24 years ago! While we are celebrating this location, though, I’m not always sure that we are telling folks how we are capitalizing on the partnerships in our neighborhood, especially in light of the charge in our recent Strategic Thinking that makes this one of our key institutional priorities.
Many of you are familiar with our EC and LS students walking across to the MFAH for storytime hours or for class field trips to enhance a particular lesson or unit of study. With this blog entry, I want to feature a new aspect of our growing partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts.
Based on our reputation in the community related to arts education, supported by our recent emphasis on strategic partnerships in the neighborhood, and bolstered by our intrepid and innovative spirit around the infusion of 21st Century skills into our curriculum, the MFAH reached out to us to partner with them in a new initiative. Our middle school teachers and students are now working alongside the MFAH to help them develop a curriculum that will use art to develop the habits of mind necessary for more integrated and connected learning.
Examples of these habits of mind include: overcoming fear of failure; taking creative and intellectual risks; being adaptive, flexible, and comfortable with ambiguity; analyzing relationships; and taking time to reflect.
The MFAH's new initiative with us is just one example of how our presence at this intersection of our neighbhorhood can be instrumental not just for ourselves but for our neighbors as well! We will keep you posted on this and many other developments with our partners in the coming months.
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