Growing Inside by Leading Outside

Sharon Cronin, Principal, RancheView School – At RancheView School we continue to grow our amazing learning community. Although our growth shows in our increasing numbers, more importantly, our growth is evident in our connections.

Since the beginning, we have focused on building a learning and leading community and through the Discover phase, we were reminded of how connected we are as a community and how much our relationship building has been foundational to our learners. Through the Discovery phase, we talked openly, reviewed survey results, debated the meaning behind some of these results, questioned each other and reminisced about our journey together. 

When we began the Discover phase with all our stakeholders, we listened intently to what was important for each group and unpacked these responses. Through this exploration, we learned from our parents how much they value the leadership opportunities their children receive, and how much their children benefit from co-teaching and teacher collaboration. We also learned that they want ideas for how to support their children at home and value increased emphasis on basic literacy and numeracy skills. 

Our students told us that they like to share their learning with friends, that outdoor learning is important to them and that having flexible learning spaces helps them with their learning. We also learned that helping our middle level learners feel a stronger sense of belonging is important as we continue to grow.

Our staff discovered more questions than we have answers for and learned that it’s alright to question everything we do, even if at times it can be uncomfortable. We learned that supporting the social/emotional needs of everyone is essential before learning can really happen, so we’re reminded of the importance of our focus on building strong, positive and healthy relationships. 

Through the design thinking process we were reminded that student, staff and parent voice play a key role in our community and that through exploration and discovery, we can ensure our vision of “growing inside by leading outside” will keep us on our exciting journey of learning and leading together.