All In: What I Love About MCPS
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The art of love is largely the art of persistence.
Few words are spoken as often or with as little care as the word love. We often say “I love this,” or “I don’t love that,” without much thought about what we are saying.
My five-year-old grandson Henry tells me emphatically that he loves sushi, and he eats it like he truly does. On the other hand, when my 30-year-old daughter Meg was younger and angry with us, she would write notes to my wife Gayle and me telling us, in no uncertain terms, that she did not love us. The notes were always written on paper with cartoons of frogs. To this day, just the mention of frog paper produces waves of laughter at family gatherings. What makes it funny is the fact that then, as well as now, love was undoubtedly there on both sides.
In this month of February, we in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) are taking time to reflect on what it is we love about our school system. There are many definitions of love, but here I am thinking of love in terms of attachment, admiration, enthusiasm, common interests and benevolent concern.
MCPS as an organization is deeply attached and connected to its core values—respect, relationships, equity, excellence and learning. Employees in all departments are focused on these values as vehicles to promote student learning and care for students’ socio-emotional health. I love that these values are referenced and used by so many of us on a daily basis.
I love that MCPS has strong, active students who talk to one another and to adults about their hopes, dreams, frustrations and beliefs. And, I love that adults in our system listen and understand the value of student voice in all that we do. I find that same value placed on parent, family and community voice. All perspectives matter and all contribute to the whole.
I love that people in the community believe in the value of public education and support it enthusiastically. A vast number of residents understand and advocate for all students. For example, so many know the value of high-quality child care and early learning for every child. I also love that so many families and school staff believe that the language students come to school with is an asset, not a hurdle to overcome.
There are so many things to admire about the school system from the dedicated, experienced staff members, to the academic and operational excellence that exists. I love that right now many staff members are concerned about what is best for the students in our care and are engaged in work to better support student academic, physical, social and psychological well-being.
Perhaps the most admirable characteristic about MCPS and this community is that vast numbers of people believe and understand the statement, ALL MEANS ALL. All (not most) students must have access and opportunity. All (not most) must learn and develop in an environment of equity, diversity, inclusion and excellence.
Is the school system perfect? No. Is the school system sick or broken? No. Can the school system get better? YES! Because, as we all know, you do not need to be sick to get better. Continuous improvement is a model that I admire and embrace.
Each day, I love that I see people across 206 schools and many departments and offices working persistently to increase the quantity and quality of care for student well-being and high levels of learning for all. This enthusiasm and commitment inspires me, shapes me and fashions me into a better educator and advocate.
So, to answer the question, “What do I love about MCPS?” I enthusiastically answer, “A lot!”
Good Read/Good Listen
As we all know, learning doesn’t stop when you become an adult. I am constantly learning about new ideas and exploring new perspectives. I do this through books, articles and podcasts. Each blog, I will share a few of the most interesting ones with you. Some have made me ask questions, some have irritated me; others have made me smile or frown. I hope they make you think critically and open doors to new information and ideas.
3 Reasons why a 4-year degree isn’t always worth it, Education Dive
Want to Raise Smart, Kind Kids? Science Says Do This Every Day, Happy You, Happy Family