A “Hopeful” School Community: Creating Realistic Structures to Translate Faith into Action

Highlights from the past three weeks:

 

  • Plans are well under way for the 50 year reunion of the JO Grad Class of 1959;
  • Our Year-End Concert was a great success;
  • The Drama Department put on an entertaining night of “One Act Plays”;
  • Over 150 students were recognized at the annual Awards Night Ceremony. 

I recently finished reading Lee Bolman and Terence Deal’s book, Leading with Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Spirit.  The authors put forward their belief that an effective vision doesn’t predict the future: it shapes it.  They firmly believe that if an organization’s vision is to truly energize it must capture both the heart and the imagination.  An organization’s purpose stimulates the mind as it pushes the organization forward, but the vision warms the heart as it pulls the organization to its point on the horizon.

 

Bolman and Deal’s book has much in common with the article that I am sharing with you this week.  Thomas Sergiovanni’s, “Building a Community of Hope,” looks at two schools, Wyandotte High School in Kansas City and Samuel Gompers elementary in Detroit,  and shows how faith fuels hope and how hope can transform a school. 

schools-as-learning-communities-building-a-community-of-hope

Placing hope at the core of a school community “provides encouragement and promotes clear thinking and informed action.”  For example, Sergiovanni writes, “our faith that all students can succeed will remain wishful thinking unless we transform it into hope by providing the necessary support to ensure that all students do succeed.”

The article, like the book, resonates with me because you, as a staff, have created a community of hope here at JO by establishing and committing to structures that translate hope into action and by providing the context for both students and fellow staff to realize their full potential.  The vision you have collectively put forward has served to connect us this year and it is the sense of hope at the core of our community which will give us the leverage we need to close the achievement gap and solve intractable problems which may arise in the future. 

I hope you had a nice weekend.  I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.