A few weeks ago I was alone on a hike, enjoying the quiet solitude and simple sounds of the summer forest, when a huge, beautiful buck bounded across the trail in front of me. Now, I spend a lot of time outside, and have seen hundreds and hundreds of deer, but I was so struck by the majesty and calmness of this experience, it got me thinking about the work we do at MIS. We are thriving, happy, solidifying systems and processes in support of our vision. We work every minute of every day for the students, for their experience at school, and we see the outcomes of that in letters like this one that I recently received from a student:
My brother and I think that there should be no weekend. We both hate leaving school on Friday and we feel that if there was no weekend, that we would get to spend more time with friends, have something to do, and get more education. You see, my brother and I love school a lot and at our old school we used to wish the weekend was longer. Since we came to MIS all we’ve wanted to do was come to school on the weekend. Maybe if it’s not possible for there to be no weekend, we could just have school on Saturday? I don’t know, but what I do know is me and my brother love school and want you to get back to us on that.” –MIS 6th grader
And yet, in that moment when the serenity of the forest really impacted me, and I thought about all of this incredible work for our students and school, I realized that it’s not enough. Yes, we put our students first in all of our decision-making; yes, we are unafraid of innovation and doing things in ways they have never been done; yes, each interaction with our students generates ripples of hope through the community. We embody the ill-paraphrased Gandhi quote, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
It’s not enough.
This year we push beyond last year’s theme to be brave, and will embrace a different ideal, one that protects the peaceful spaces, that affects meaningful change, and one that teaches our students that being good and kind and respectful is just the first step in making the world a better place: this year, we do the change.
Ande Noktes is the Head of School for Midtown International School. She has 20 years of experience in education and educational administration. Her many years abroad and multicultural family at home have reinforced her passion for globally-minded, gifted education in the strategy and day to day practices of the school.
What that looks like in the classroom:
As we look ahead to the first MIS graduating class in 2020, we are conscious and thoughtful of what it means to invigorate our students’ gifts and passions, to give them the freedom to be inspired by those moments like the one I had this summer, the resources to fulfill their potential and do the change. We also know that these resources include sometimes not-exciting things like SAT preparation, college admissions essays, and learning to be self-motivated and organized. As has been true for us as an organization even before we opened our doors to students, the best way for us to do the change as a school is to make sure that we put our students first.
I invite you to schedule some time to come visit our campus, where you will notice the thought put into the authenticity of learning experiences. You’ll see the ways every unit in every class allows our students to apply their learning to the world, to explore new things to be passionate about and love, and give them opportunities to do the change they want to see in their world.
Head of School