Dear Merici Community,
The beginning of the school year has been filled with joy and renewed energy.
We have started the school year with professional development and collaborative meetings to sharpen the work of teachers and to align everyone’s efforts towards the identity and goals of our school.
In this new school year, among many other initiatives, we have strengthened the arts – integrating theater from secondary school onwards – and are already putting together an orchestra project for music. In addition, we have renovations underway in the library and the D’Labs, which will grow in materials, resources and functionality.
The educational technology sessions with which we opened the year with the teaching teams, were creative and productive. We have assembled a solid and professional team to lead the incorporation of technology. We have discovered new functions and combinations that help us maximize learning. Technology is, without a doubt, an indispensable ally in the development of skills of all kinds, and particularly in developing creative thinking.
At our back-to-school General Meeting with full staff, we addressed two concepts that add to our model and deserve attention. On the one hand “Grit”, which in Spanish could be understood as the combination of passion and perseverance and whose practice contributes to the achievement of ambitious goals in life. Incidentally, the book of the same name by Angela Duckworth talks about the importance of turning talent into skill through effort and dedication and offers life examples that illustrate the concept. We recommend reading it, some copies are available in the library.
We also explored the term “Agency”, a concept that has enormous relevance in psychology and pedagogy, originally coined some years ago, by a great psychologist, Albert Bandura. This psychologist spoke of “self-efficacy” as the belief that one has of one’s own abilities in a given situation – somewhat comparable to “growth mindset” -, pointing out that this belief has great influence as it affects the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of a person. From this starting point, Bandura shows how self-efficacy leads to “agency”, understood as the ability to act, to make decisions, i.e., to take control of one’s life through one’s actions. Easier said than done. Bandura emphasizes the relevance of working on it from early childhood, thus allowing children to experience – as far as is reasonable – his/her own choices and the consequences that flow from those choices.
What we do on a daily basis, what we spend time on frequently, inexorably reflects what we value. In that vein, despite the rain, the schedule and the roads, we had a high attendance at our in-person kick-off meetings with our parents. It was a meaningful, positive, close and necessary reconnection, in order to frame what we so dearly hold in common: the education of our children.
Just as this edition was closing, I received a message from a school mother, whose children have been at Merici for some years now. She told me that, on her way to pick up her children, in the streets surrounding the school, she had a mechanical failure and that it was impressive how other parents, students and even teachers came to help her push her car and “lent her a hand”. She closed her message by expressing her gratitude and reaffirming that it was precisely this quality that she valued most from Merici (Solidarity). I agree with her. We are a caring and supportive community that knows how to look out for others, and we should celebrate and exalt that in every possible way.
Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year and may it be one of health, joy and learning for all of us.
Prof. Alfonso García Williams,
Head of School.