To Be or Not To Be…

As the school year moves along at a rapid pace I’m observing our teachers and our students in many roles,  and places.  We can find our Bulldogs out and about like:

Girls Volleyball Seniors Celebrate Their Teamwork!

West Columbia FD Visits Elementary Students About Safety

Hollywood Friday Celebration

Hollywood Friday Celebration

But no matter where we find our children (the athletic arena, in the classroom, visiting the community or just in the lunchroom), to be or not to be involved in technology – that is really the question they face each and every hour of the day.  I’ve read NY City is banning cell phones in schools, and I’m constantly talking with a parent, or the teachers or students even about Ipads, or Kindles, or computers.  There is always some sort of technology interfering with our day, is it not?

You yourself can recognize some of this probably.  Your cell phone doesn’t stop ringing, or your laptop just doesn’t move as fast as you want it to, or your wireless just went done in your place of work or home.  When is this technology a resource and when is it a headache?  I hear many of the teachers talk about the positives they are seeing in the Apps being used to supplement the classroom instruction.  I’ve found students doing amazing “tricks” with the Ipads.  It’s truly awesome to see them smiling and challenging one another in a positive way.

Ipad updates

I encourage you to continue to lay ground rules in your home about what is acceptable for technology.  Yes, we have had to address improper website exploration, and we have had to discuss that sending texts during class to any

Classroom Instruction for Art Class

one without permission is not acceptable.  I’m amazed that some of our students do over 100 texts a day (I don’t think I do more than maybe 25-40 in a day and I’m supposed to be the professional).  As I speak with my daughter I encourage her to use technology to be an aid but don’t let it do all the work, and don’t let it fool you into thinking your accomplishing something when really it’s in the midst of using her.  Truly we have a fine line to walk as we guide our next generation into the era of technology.

My other observation is learning to see the difference between having a bullying situation and recognizing how to resolve conflict.  I’ve shared with our teachers that in part due to technology, I think, some of today’s students are not able to resolve conflict properly.  We have talked as faculty, we have attended a webinar on bullying presented by Character Counts (an institute addressing school based values), and we continue to talk with our students daily about their need to resolve conflict without name calling.  Bullying is seen as an intimidation initiation where one student over powers another in the absence of an adult (although be it at times in the presence of an adult).  Conflict resolution is where you can work through your concerns and find a way to leave the conversation without making insults, or negative statements that causes one person to feel like the end result was a win-lose conversation.

This is a true challenge while addressing so much in the classroom including our learning differences, nonetheless it is incumbent of us as adults to encourage a level of emotional intelligence where students are able to find common ground with their peers.  I’m grateful to have such wonderful families involved in our school and I’m confident that as we help students explore the proper ways in sharing their ideas, thoughts or feelings we can help both the Glenforest community and those we impact better recognize our students for the positives made be each child today.  Thank you for your time and as always we value your feedback.

Respectfully,

Chris Winkler, Head of School