It is no secret that DAA's students are incredibly bright and hard-working, but they are blossoming into kind, thoughtful little leaders, as well. Our students have studied many great leaders throughout the school year and they know that leaders have opinions about change and improvement and aren't afraid to take action.
So... it should have been no surprise that once our kindergarten students' persuasive writing unit was in full swing, every few days I'd check my mailbox and find a piece of mail addressed to me. The drawn postage stamps made me smile, but the contents really blew me away.
Our students were writing letters to me about things that they want to change at DAA! They want school to start later, they want more pizza and longer recess. They are sick of the ugly brown color of our floor, could do without all the vegetables all the time, and they didn't like the part of No David (a favorite book at DAA) that contained a little nudity.
Seriously? I mean... wow, right? They have the mindfulness to have these opinions and they felt empowered to do something about it! So great. (And the progress in their writing from the first day of school? Oh man, so much improvement.)
But the funniest thing, was that as I read each letter, I'd find myself shaking my head at the fact that I'd moved to Detroit to work tirelessly to change the system for our students, and all kids in Detroit. And then, less than a year later, I was the system that our youngest citizens were looking to for change!
I always knew that at some point, our students would want to change something about the school, to improve things for our students or families. Enabling students to follow their own path toward changing the world is a part of our school mission! I just didn't think it would be in the first 6 months that we were open.... or from 5 year olds.
But, the thing is, is that I am fine with my new role as "the system." I think it is great practice for our kids, to negotiate change with someone that they know loves and respects them immensely. They know that I will give in to them if it makes sense to do so and that I won't if it doesn't. I figure that it is my job to help them sharpen their skills for creating positive change in their community, now and in the future, wherever their community might be. Plus, being "the system" means that I get to receive adorably handwritten letters in between bills and other boring pieces of mail for years to come, which is pretty great.
I hope you enjoy a few of the letters I've received over the past few weeks. (: