Positivity impacts our success with students. Paradigms are shifting away from our classic 19th century model of factory education. My junior high could have just as well been a light bulb factory from the outside. One of the slower shifts feels like our discipline model. Our POPS lunches have been well attended by parents and loved ones and our school wide celebrations continue to be talked about long after they cease.

Organizations can be judged many ways, but one of the ways we are measured remains financial. Measuring the impact of education continues at the legislative and research levels. I’ve heard people argue that small class size produces greater gains; I’ve heard others contend that too small is cost prohibitive. Numbers get tossed around public and private conversations. We believe we offer a responsible education that meets the needs of most of the students, most of the time with the goals of all students all the time. It’s not cheap, but cheap should not be the aim of education. If the goal is to reduce costs regardless, the product suffers. 

Politeness comes in many forms. It’s relative at times to the beholder. It can be a turn of a phrase, an acknowledgement of hard work or a nod. The guidelines imply that knowing your audience is important. That knowledge is essentially a relationship. Taking the time to cultivate connections remains an important aspect of socialization and schooling.

Safety comes in many forms. It’s students telling us when they’re struggling. It’s pushing students to a point where they maximize their learning without becoming too discouraged. It’s setting attainable goals. It’s letting them explore with parameters. It’s offering meals, hugs, books and opportunities. We want Vergennes Union Elementary School to be safe. Sometimes safety means that students act unsafe because they know that we will keep them ultimately safe as a whole. It seems paradoxical, but to us, it makes sense. It means we’re doing something right - keeping kids safe. 
Matthew DeBlois

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