With the recent end of the calendar year and decade, it is normal to take stock of oneself and one’s future situation. Doing so is at the heart of New Year’s resolutions, a practice whose roots can be traced back over 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians.
Today, the most common resolutions center on living a more balanced, healthy life by losing weight, reducing stress, or improving important relationships.
Schools are no different when it comes to establishing such goals. While the resolutions generally come with the start of the academic “new year” in August, Ensworth has a unique opportunity for reflection and goal-setting every five years through the accreditation process with the Southern Association of Independent Schools. Central to this process is a self-study, the establishment of clear goals for improvement, and feedback from a visiting team of school administrators who make recommendations and assess the school through its stated goals. For this accreditation cycle, Ensworth’s are the following:
• Enhancing Our Commitment to Skills-Based Teaching and Learning
• Supporting Students’ Health and Wellness Needs
• Embracing Diversity and Supporting Identity and Inclusion
• Supporting Growth and New Leadership Opportunities for Faculty
We are now working to integrate the recommendations made by the visiting team with the feedback we received from a survey of students, parents, and faculty related to these topics in order to establish specific plans that will guide our efforts going forward. Based on the commendations we received from the visiting team, it is clear that we are approaching this work from a position of great strength. In particular, they described our school as one with:
• A community consistently described by all stakeholders as loving, welcoming, and dynamic.
• A clear sense of being mission-driven and vision-driven.
• A faculty described as caring, empowering, challenging, and accessible.
• A commitment to physical health and wellness from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
• A commitment to creating a healthy, intentional balance between academics, arts, and athletics, and providing a wealth and diversity of opportunity for students.
So, while roughly 80% of New Year's resolutions end up failing by the end of February, I am confident that we will be able to follow through on the resolutions we establish working through this accreditation process. The combination of a community dedicated to continued improvement, a process that requires accountability, and the drive to always do what is best for our students, will inevitably lead to success. It will also ensure that Ensworth remains a school that is unquestionably committed to being a healthy, balanced institution.