Sunday, September 22, 2019

From the Voyager Academy Board, Sept. 22, 2019

A Note on Voyager Values
Do you know what our school values are?  (You get bonus points if you have also read our school’s strategic plan!)
The Board is guided by Voyager’s values in its work.  I believe it is also important to make sure every member of the Voyager community knows our values and helps us to exemplify them.  While I believe that our school is doing a terrific job with character education, including through the hard work of our counselors and staff, teaching our kids to embrace these values must start at home.  When we interact with our kids, each other, administration and staff, and the public, our children are watching.  

Voyager has five established values:  (1) CONFIDENCE - trusting in your own ability and being willing to take academic risks; (2) CURIOSITY -  eager to investigate and learn about the world around us; (3) EMPATHY – being aware of and respecting another person’s feelings, experiences, and differences; (4) REFLECTION – using past experiences to guide future learning and decision making; and (5) INTEGRITY - doing the right thing and standing strong in what you believe.
We can help our kids instill CONFIDENCE when we encourage them to try new things, even when those things are hard.  It takes courage to run for student council or try out for the school musical and we can celebrate our students for their efforts, regardless of the result.
We can help our students foster CURIOSITY by learning about new things together and modeling for them what it means to be a lifelong learner.  There are numerous opportunities for this. For instance, Science Olympiad is just starting up, and it is a great chance for parents to partner with their students in a new learning endeavor.  Joining a field trip is another great way to learn something new together!
We can show EMPATHY by treating others well.  I can think of no better way to do that than to show kindness in our interactions with each other every day (even in carline, and I am empathetic enough to know how hard that is).   I especially challenge you to have empathy in your interactions with the Voyager staff and administration.  They work so incredibly hard on behalf of our kids, and it can be disheartening to read harshly worded complaints whether in email or online.  (And please remember Voyager’s social media policy  J.)  We do not always have to agree, but let’s disagree respectfully.
We can REFLECT upon what has gone well and look for productive ways to get involved and make things better.  PTO announced at its last meeting that they are looking for new volunteers, and there are many other ways to get involved with the school, including through the School Improvement Team.  We will welcome applications for the Voyager Board next Spring as well.
We can demonstrate INTEGRITY by doing the right thing at all times.  I think we must recognize that charters sometimes start from a deficit in public perception, and I think that it is critical that we conduct ourselves with integrity so that our good work does not get lost.  Let’s start by demonstrating sportsmanship at our athletic competitions and treating other teams and fans with respect.  
So many of our interactions already reflect these values, but I hope we can all take a moment to reflect on how we are living these values and how we can make our school community even a little bit better.  Have a wonderful week!